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What Is the Law on Rear End Accidents?

One accident type where determining liability can be complicated is a rear end collision. While it is generally an accepted standard that the rear vehicle should at all times maintain a safe following distance, a rear end collision is not always the fault of the rear driver

What Does the Law Say About Rear End Collisions?

There is no law that specifically addresses rear end collisions. However, the Arizona Driver’s License Manual provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation reads that most rear end crashes are caused by following too closely, and that drivers should use the “three to six second rule” to determine if they have enough room between their vehicle and the vehicle which they are following. When traveling at faster speeds, the distance should be greater.

When a driver follows too closely and a rear end collision results as a direct result of this, it is often assumed that the rear end driver violated the “reasonable person” standard by failing to operate his or her vehicle in a way that was safe for the circumstances.

But What About Situations Where the Rear End Driver Was Not Following Too Closely?

However, a rear end driver is not always to blame, or at least not totally to blame. Some situations in which the rear end driver may be (partially) pardoned for the collision include:


  • A rear driver’s brakes go out. When defective brakes or other vehicle parts cause a rear end collision, the manufacturer or distributor of the defective product, not necessarily the driver him or herself, may be held liable.



  • The driver who is being followed is driving without properly working brake lights. In the event that a driver is operating his or her vehicle in violation of the law and is driving without properly working brake lights, then that driver may be held liable if the lack of lights is the cause of the accident.



  • Another driver hits one of the two vehicles involved in the rear end collision. Sometimes, the negligent actions of another driver can force the cars into one another. For example, a head on collision with two vehicles may result in a third vehicle rear-ending the vehicle in the middle.


How Can I Prove the Liability of the Other Party?

If you have been in a rear end collision and the blame for the accident has been placed on your shoulders, despite your belief that another factor caused the accident, you will need to prove it; proving the liability of the other party is essential for recovering your total damages amount. You can prove liability using police accident reports, video evidence (if available), eyewitness testimony, accident reconstruction evidence, and more.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

An attorney can help you to gather the evidence types above and organize it in a manner that demonstrates your lack of fault for the occurrence of the accident. An attorney can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to make sure that the settlement amount you receive is fair.

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