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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 29% of all car accidents in the US are due to rear-end collisions.

These types of crashes happen when a vehicle collides with the car in front of it while traveling in the same direction.

In most cases, the motorist (usually the rear driver) colliding with the other vehicle's rear end is responsible for the car accident. However, there are some situations where the lead driver may be at fault. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can provide insight on leaving the scene of an accident in Indiana.

The Most Common Causes of Rear-end Collisions

The Most Common Causes of Rear-end Collisions

Proving fault in a rear-end collision can be challenging, as it often boils down to one driver's word against another.

A rear driver's liability can be reduced or eliminated under some circumstances. Distracted driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating, can cause a rear-end car accident. If the no-fault driver can show that the front driver was distracted during the crash, it may reduce their liability.

In some cases, the rear driver may be able to argue that the lead driver was driving erratically or made a sudden move that made the car accident more likely.

If the lead driver suddenly changed lanes without using their turn signal, the trailing motorist may be able to argue that the front driver's action contributed to the rear-end accident. Other common causes of rear-end collisions include the following:

  • Following too closely

  • Distracted driving

  • Drunk driving

  • Intentionally speeding

  • Brake-checking

  • Road rage

  • Sudden lane changes

When it comes to rear-end collisions, the fault is typically straightforward. However, as mentioned above, there are some instances where the plaintiff can dispute liability. This is where car accident lawyers can help victims.

A qualified car accident attorney can investigate the circumstances of a rear-end accident case and determine who is at fault. They can also help car accident victims recover damages for injuries and other losses resulting from the rear-end crash.

Determining Liability in a Rear-end Accident in Indianapolis

Rear drivers must maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them to avoid rear-end collisions.

Failure to keep an adequate distance from the lead driver violates Indiana traffic laws, which can create a presumption of negligence in a rear-end accident case. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

If the lead driver's brake lights are out or the motorist suddenly reverses or stops without warning, they may be partly responsible for the rear-end car accident.

Additionally, if the rear driver can prove that they were forced to collide with the lead driver due to unforeseen external factors, such as another motorist causing them to swerve, the liability may shift to the other driver.

Car accident lawyers can help rear-end car accident victims secure compensation by proving liability. The attorney must prove negligence to recover a settlement from the at-fault party (and their insurance company).

The concept of negligence in a car accident must include four crucial elements:

  1. Duty of Care

All rear drivers have a duty of care to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of it. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, any automobilist driving below 40mph should have at least four seconds of distance from the other driver. Failing to maintain this rule will automatically pin the rear driver liable in a crash.

  1. Breach of Duty

On the other hand, this legal obligation sees all kinds of intentional road violations as a breach of duty. Purposefully speeding past a red light or not obeying traffic signs is a breach.

  1. Causation

Car accident lawyers must prove that the rear-end collision injuries and breach of duties are due to the crash and no other pre-existing reasons.

  1. Damages

Lastly, attorneys must show that the damages sustained by the plaintiff (economic and non-economic losses) are from the rear-end crash.

The Benefits of Hiring Car Accident Lawyers

Rear-end crashes can have a devastating impact on individuals and families. The victims may have lasting and permanent injuries, such as whiplash or traumatic brain injuries. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like, "Is brake checking illegal in Indiana?"

A car accident lawyer can assess the damages of the victim's personal injury and property, scrutinize the parties' insurance policy, and determine the most favorable settlement amount.

  • Legal Representation

In the event that a lawsuit is necessary, a qualified lawyer will provide the necessary legal representation to the claimant in court.

From filing the appropriate legal paperwork to gathering evidence and negotiating with other driver's insurance companies, personal injury attorneys are well-versed in traffic laws and litigation. They can argue on behalf of the plaintiff to secure maximum compensation for their losses.

Lawyers can also investigate the cause of the rear-end collision and determine if the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the event.

  • Fighting for Rights

Accident lawyers represent the rights of their clients in court. They will fight tirelessly to ensure justice for the rear-end collision victims. Experienced attorneys will also help protect the plaintiffs from being taken advantage of by insurance companies.

When Should a Victim Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?

Car accidents can be a traumatic experience for everyone, especially when physical injuries and emotional trauma are involved. If a victim suffers from severe personal damages, lost time at work, or lost wages, they might want to consider contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

In an accident where multiple vehicles rear-end each other, determining who is at fault can be more complicated than in a crash involving only two vehicles. This is especially true if there is an uninsured or underinsured driver involved.

  1. Insurance Companies May Deny the Claim

These agencies will try to deny the personal injury claim or offer victims a low settlement amount.

They may ask for proof and evidence of the accident, which the injured driver may not have if they don't collect it immediately after the rear-end car crash. As a result, the victims should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney to report the accident instead.

  1. Medical and Witness Evidence May Be Lost

Waiting too long to contact an attorney can risk the disappearance or damage of medical and witness statements. This will only make it harder for the plaintiff to prove their case in court.

  1. Statute of Limitations

Every state has a specific statute of limitations for filing claims. Missing the deadline would bar the plaintiff from taking legal action against the defendant. The statute of limitations for car accident cases in Indiana is two years from the date of the crash. This time frame can extend in some rare situations.

What to Do After a Rear-end Crash

What to Do After a Rear-end Crash

After a rear-end collision, the victim must act fast and take the right steps to protect themselves and their interests. Whether it's a minor fender-bender or a serious accident, the aftermath of a rear-end collision can be chaotic and stressful.

  • Collect Evidence

The first step after a rear-end collision is to start collecting evidence. The victims' priority should always be to ensure their safety and those of others involved in the rear-end crash.

Once everyone is safe, the accident victim(s) can gather evidence. They should take photos of the damage to both vehicles, the position of the cars after the crash, and any skid marks on the road.

The victim(s) can also try to take pictures of the other driver's vehicle, license plate, and insurance information when possible. Generally, the more evidence they have, the easier it will be to prove fault and liability in a rear-end crash case or personal injury claim.

  • Secure Medical Information

Even if the victim feels okay, the injuries can surface hours or days after the accident. As a result, they must seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Also, plaintiffs who ask for medical advice must keep all the receipts for their treatment. This will help them prove their injuries were because of the rear-end motor vehicle accident.

  • Gather Witness Information

Witness testimony can be very valuable when proving liability and negligence in court. Victims should gather as much information as possible from bystanders at the accident scene.

They should write their full names, phone numbers, and email addresses. The plaintiffs can also ask the witnesses if they'd be willing to testify in court.

  • Stay Calm

The no-fault automobilist needs to keep calm and avoid talking or fighting with the other driver involved in the rear-end motor vehicle accident case.

Arguing with them would only add to the situation's stress and could make matters worse.

In this case, the victim should contact 911 and their insurance company and let the authorities handle the situation. Passengers involved in rear-end crashes should also request a police report, as the statement can help them secure financial compensation.

Final Words

Reckless driving is a significant issue on the roads today, leading to many rear-end accidents. Rear drivers must maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, obey traffic signs, and never operate a motor vehicle while impaired. However, few automobilists heed these rules, resulting in deadly car crashes.

Rear-end car accidents can result in serious injuries, ranging from whiplash to spinal cord injuries, depending on the crash's impact. A personal injury attorney can assist victims in proving that the leading driver was partly or wholly responsible for the accident.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, with "We Go to War for You" as its motto, can help car accident victims secure maximum compensation for their injuries. The firm offers free consultation sessions, which clients can use without financially committing to a specific lawyer.


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