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How is fault determined in rear-end collisions?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Auto Accidents

When a rear-end collision happens, one of the most important issues you need to address is your safety. Next, you need to figure out who to hold liable for the accident and the resulting damages.

However, determining fault following a rear-end collision isn’t always straightforward. While it is easy to blame the rear driver, fault generally boils down to who failed in their duty of care. In other words, each driver’s actions leading up to the collision play an important role in determining who is liable.

Leading causes of rear-end collisions

No two rear-end collisions are the same. That said, here are some of the leading causes of rear-end collisions:

Distracted driving – Actions like talking on the phone, texting, taking photos or checking the GPS device while driving can easily take a driver’s eyes and attention off the road leading to a rear-end collision.

Aggressive driving – New Jersey traffic laws require drivers to keep a safe distance between the vehicles. Following too closely or speeding limits a driver’s ability to slow down and stop when they should, especially in the event of an emergency.

Driving a faulty vehicle – From faulty brakes to faulty tail lights, vehicular faults can come in a variety of ways. And all these can lead to rear-end collisions.

Determining fault following a rear-end collision

To hold the other driver to account and recover damages, you must prove that they are to blame for the accident. For this reason, the court will look into each party’s contribution to the rear-end collision per New Jersey’s modified comparative negligence statute. According to this statute, you may not recover damages if your contribution to the accident is greater than the defendant’s.

Some of the evidence you may need to build your case include:

  • The accident report
  • Witness statements
  • Photos of the accident scene, including the damages to both vehicles as well as road conditions
  • Your medical records

Protecting your interests

A rear-end collision can leave you seriously hurt and with damaged property. Understanding how the state’s negligence laws work can help you safeguard your rights and interests while litigating damages that result from rear-end collisions.