Small Firm, Big Results

Multiple Record-Setting Verdicts Family firm that treats clients like family

Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident?

March 20 2024 | Car Accidents

Rear-end car accidents are one of the most common types of motor vehicle collisions in Connecticut. While it is true that the driver who collides into the back of another vehicle is at fault most of the time, this is not always or automatically the case. When a rear-end car accident takes place, an investigation will be conducted to determine fault and financial responsibility.

Is Connecticut a Fault or No-Fault State?

Connecticut is a fault automobile insurance state. Under this law, drivers who are involved in car accidents can seek compensation from the insurance provider of the at-fault driver or party. All motor vehicle drivers in Connecticut are required to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance to cover the medical bills and property repairs of others after an at-fault crash. The injured party must prove fault to recover compensation from another driver.

How Is Liability Determined in a Rear-End Car Accident?

Generally speaking, the rear driver in a rear-end collision is most often found liable, or financially responsible, for the crash. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-240 states: “No person operating a motor vehicle shall follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the speed of such vehicles, the traffic upon and the condition of the highway and weather conditions.”

Under this law, drivers have a duty to operate their motor vehicles in a way that allows sufficient space between them and other cars on the roadway. A distance of at least one car length is best practice, but this may need to be extended in adverse conditions, such as congested traffic or bad weather. If a driver fails to leave an adequate following distance, he or she may not have enough room to brake on time to avoid hitting the back of another vehicle.

The rear driver could also be at fault for a rear-end collision if he or she committed other traffic offenses or violations leading up to the crash. Common examples include speeding, distracted driving, texting and driving, ignoring traffic signs and signals, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to yield the right-of-way, and aggressive or road-rage driving behaviors such as intentional tailgating.

When Can the Other Driver Be Held Liable?

If an investigation finds that the driver of the rear vehicle did leave a reasonable amount of following distance, the question of liability may shift to the other driver involved. If the driver of the vehicle that was struck was engaging in negligent or reckless driving practices, he or she could be at fault for the rear-end collision.

Examples of front-driver negligence include brake-checking (abruptly slamming on the brakes without reason), weaving in and out of multiple lanes, making unsafe lane changes, and cutting other drivers off. If the leading driver’s taillights or brake lights were not working, he or she may also be held responsible for the crash due to inadequate vehicle maintenance.

Third-Party Liability for a Rear-End Collision

Another possibility after a rear-end car accident is holding a third party responsible. A third party is someone who caused the accident but was not at the scene. For example, if a motor vehicle has defective brakes that failed and caused the driver to crash into the back of another vehicle, the manufacturer of the defective product could be held responsible. If an unsafe road condition such as a pothole contributed to the rear-end collision, a government agency may be at fault.

If you were recently involved in a rear-end collision in New Haven, contact the car accident attorneys at Jacobs & Jacobs for a free case evaluation. We can investigate your crash to help you determine who is at fault.

Free Consultation

  • *required fields
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.