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Is the following car always at fault?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2023 | Car Accidents

In a rear-end accident, you sometimes hear people say that it’s simple to determine fault. After all, they claim, the following driver is always at fault. If you get rear-ended by someone else, they are going to be liable for your injuries, the damage to your car, and other costs.

But is this true? In many cases, it is. Essentially, drivers are obligated to leave themselves enough space to avoid an accident. They have to be able to stop before colliding with the next vehicle, even if that vehicle has to slow down or stop unexpectedly – such as when a child or a dog runs into the street. Therefore, a driver who causes a rear-end accident has already violated this basic rule of driving.

Brake-checking is an exception

But there are exceptions to this rule about following drivers. One of the most common is brake-checking, which is when someone hits the brakes to get a tailgater to back off. This is incredibly dangerous and it is illegal in its own right. If the lead driver initiates the accident by intentionally pushing their brakes so that the following driver strikes their vehicle, they may be liable.

Other illegal actions by a lead driver can also have an impact on liability. For example, maybe the driver in the front car was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That impairment could’ve caused the accident because they weren’t driving in a safe and expected manner.

As you can see, sorting out responsibility after an accident can be complex. Take the time to look into all of your legal options to seek financial compensation.