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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Who Is At-fault in a Rear-end Collision in Texas? | Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

Rear-end accidents, also known as rear-end collisions, are one of the most common forms of car accidents on American roads.

These types of incidents typically happen when the vehicle following another rear-ends the car in front of it. In situations like these, there is often a debate about who is at fault for the mishap.

In most cases, the driver who hit the other vehicle from behind is at fault. However, there are instances where this might not be the case.

Under Texas law, the driver who failed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them is generally at fault in a rear-end collision.

The reasoning behind this is that rear drivers are responsible for following other cars at a reasonable and safe distance. If the vehicle in front suddenly brakes or stops, the driver behind has to react appropriately and avoid hitting them. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah for answers to questions like, "Is it illegal to drive barefoot in Texas?"

Common Causes of Rear-end Accidents

Common Causes of Rear-end Accidents

Rear-end accidents are a prevalent cause of car crashes in the United States. These accidents happen when one vehicle collides with the back of another.

The consequences can be severe, ranging from minor property damage to severe personal injuries, depending on the speed and force of the impact. Numerous factors can contribute to a rear-end collision. While some are unavoidable, others are preventable.

  • Unexpected Hazards

One of the most common causes of rear-end accidents is unexpected road hazards. This can include potholes, debris, and even animals that suddenly appear in front of the vehicle.

In such situations, front drivers often panic and slam their brakes, causing a rear-end collision with the vehicle behind them. To avoid such accidents, the rear driver should maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them and stay alert for any unexpected hazards on the road.

  • Poor Visibility

Another cause of rear-end accidents is poor visibility. This can happen in adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain or fog, which can make it difficult to see the vehicle in front.

Additionally, drivers who fail to use their headlights or tail lights can make it difficult for other motorists to see them, increasing the likelihood of a rear-end crash.

In such situations, it is important for the rear vehicle to slow down and create a wide distance to avoid a rear-end collision.

  • Vehicular Malfunction

Mechanical defects can cause accidents, even for the most experienced drivers. Issues such as faulty brakes or broken steering systems can cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision.

Regular vehicle maintenance, diagnosis, and repairs can prevent mechanical defects and reduce the likelihood of rear-end collisions.

  • Carelessness

Motorists who are busy with their phones, radio, or other passengers can fail to notice a sudden stop or change in traffic, leading to rear-end collisions. Additionally, drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs often have impaired judgment and slow reaction times, making them more likely to cause a rear-end car accident.

  • Lane Changes and Merges

This is another common cause of rear-end crashes. When drivers switch lanes or merge into traffic, they need to ensure the coast is clear before proceeding.

If they fail to signal or check their blind spots, they may cut off another vehicle, forcing the other driver (usually the rear driver) to brake suddenly and potentially resulting in a rear-end accident.

Determining Fault in a Rear-end Accident in Houston, Texas

To establish negligence in a rear-end accident case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care, breached that requirement, and caused the plaintiff's injuries as a proximate cause of that violation.

The duty of care in a rear-end car accident case is the obligation to maintain a reasonably safe distance between the vehicles while driving.

Texas is a comparative negligence state. This means that if more than one party is at fault for an accident, their liability will be apportioned based on their percentage of fault.

In this case, the plaintiff will receive nothing if their fault is more than 50%. On the other hand, the victim's compensation will be reduced by their percentage of liability if they are less than 50% at fault for the rear-end accident.

To determine fault in a rear-end accident or personal injury lawsuit in Texas, the following factors are taken into consideration:

  • Whether the rear driver was following too closely.

  • Investigating if the other driver was distracted or not paying attention.

  • Whether the following driver was speeding or driving recklessly.

  • Checking if the lead driver suddenly and unexpectedly stopped without reason.

  • Whether the lead driver's brake lights were functioning correctly.

  • Investigating if there was a third-party cause, such as oncoming traffic or a sudden emergency leading to lane changes.

In general, a rear-end car accident can cause serious injuries and property damage. As a result, for victims involved in a rear-end crash in Texas, it is essential to determine fault before pursuing a personal injury lawsuit or making an insurance claim.

The rear driver should also remember that fault is not always clear-cut, and they may need the help of an expert to establish liability.

Seeking Legal Help from a Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents can be devastating, leaving victims with injuries, soaring medical bills, and other accident-related expenses. Seeking professional help from a skilled personal injury attorney can help victims navigate the complex legal system and get the compensation they deserve.

First and foremost, it's crucial to understand how the court determines fault in an auto accident. In a rear-end accident in Texas, the driver who hits another vehicle from behind is generally at fault.

However, there are certain (same or similar circumstances) incidents where an accident is unavoidable, such as when the lead driver suddenly slams on their brakes or swerves erratically. In these cases, determining fault can be a bit more complicated.

An experienced car accident lawyer can investigate the unavoidable accident to determine liability and gather evidence to support the claim.

This may include speaking with police officers and witnesses and collecting reports. They can also help negotiate with the insurance company to get the compensation the victim deserves or litigate on their behalf if necessary.

It's important to note that every rear-end accident in Texas is different, and every case evaluation has unique circumstances.

Even if the victim were rear-ended in a similar situation to someone else, the auto-accident case could still be different based on the specific details of the incident. This is why it's important for plaintiffs to seek the help of skilled Houston car accident lawyers who can evaluate their case and provide tailored representation.

What Is the Sudden Emergency Defense?

What Is the Sudden Emergency Defense?

Personal injury lawyers representing plaintiffs or victims injured in accidents must be aware of the sudden emergency defense and how it can impact their clients' cases.

If the defense is successful, the jury will find the defendant "not liable" for damages, leaving the plaintiff with no compensation for their injuries. However, what qualifies as an emergency or unforeseeable event, anyway?

The law generally defines it as a sudden, unexpected event that requires immediate action by the driver. Examples include situations like a family emergency such as pregnancy or death.

Other examples of emergencies that could qualify under the defense include an unexpected pedestrian running into the road or an animal crossing the street. The defendant must prove that the emergency was unforeseeable and that they did not have enough time to react or avoid the accident that led to a rear-ended collision.

It's worth noting that while an unforeseeable event can absolve someone of negligence, it must be an actual emergency, and the driver must be able to prove it. The excuse cannot cover up poor driving habits or distractions behind the wheel.

Final Words

Determining fault in a rear-end accident can be difficult, but it is often a question of negligence. In Texas, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is usually considered to be at fault for the accident. Schuerger Shunnarah can also advise on questions like, "Can you sue for emotional distress after car accident Texas?"

This means that the other person – the lead driver/front driver – is usually not considered to be at fault because they were simply driving in a forward motion and did not cause the unavoidable accident in any way. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

If the front driver, for example, suddenly and unexpectedly slams on their brakes and the driver behind them does not have enough time to stop, the leading driver is partially at fault for the accident.

On the other hand, if both drivers were driving recklessly or violating traffic laws, they may be equally at fault in the accident.

This can happen if the front driver abruptly changes lanes or merges into traffic without signaling, and the other driver behind them rear-ends the lead vehicle because they were not given proper notice.

While the unavoidable accident defense system may be used to the defendant's advantage in some cases, it is not a guaranteed policy and must have substantial evidence. Plaintiffs should have a strong legal team to help them navigate the legal system and recover the compensation they deserve.

Boasting a slogan like "We Go to War for You," Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is committed to helping victims fight the legal battle in the face of adversities.


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