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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who Is at Fault in a Rear-end Car Accident in Indiana? | Consequences and Liable Parties!

While the rear-driver is often liable for the damages in a rear-end car accident, that may not always be the case. There may be a third party or multiple people responsible for the crash. It's crucial to investigate the incident and gather sufficient evidence to determine fault.

Determining fault in a rear-end accident without legal representation can be challenging. The injured victim may face several hurdles along the way, which can prolong their claims or even lead to denials. It's important that they seek assistance from skilled vehicle accident lawyers in Indianapolis, as they may have the resources to investigate the facts surrounding the case.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have the resources and legal know-how to help injured victims determine fault after their accidents. They have recovered over $1 billion in compensation for their clients and can help the affected parties in Indianapolis, Indiana, by assessing their case and guiding them on their legal options.

Common Causes of Rear-end Collisions

Common Causes of Rear-end Collisions

Most rear-end accidents happen due to the driver's negligence. If a driver is tailgating the vehicle in the front, they may not have enough room to swerve or avoid a collision when the lead car slows down or brakes abruptly.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed the following common causes of rear-end accidents in the United States:

  • Speeding

  • Distracted driving

  • Failure to obey traffic rules

  • Drunk driving

  • Reckless driving

  • Failure to yield

Consequences of Rear-end Car Accidents

Depending on the severity of the crash, rear-end collisions can have a devastating impact on the victims. According to the National Safety Council, rear-end crashes made up 41.7% of all motor vehicle accidents in 2021 and resulted in 2,900 fatalities.

In most rear-end accident cases, drivers and other occupants suffer minor injuries and work out an agreement with the at-fault parties without getting an attorney involved. That doesn't mean that these types of collisions aren't dangerous.

Even in minor crashes, some victims may suffer from severe injuries and chronic pain that may last for weeks or months.

When a driver rear-ends another, the following are the most common types of injuries sustained:

  • Whiplash injuries

  • Chest injuries and cracked ribs

  • Bruises

  • Back pain

  • Head and neck injuries

  • Constant headaches

Besides suffering from injuries, victims often develop post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety, depression, or other mental problems following their rear-end collisions. This can adversely impact the affected party's quality of life, which is why it's crucial to speak to an experienced car accident attorney.

Who Is at Fault in a Rear-end Car Accident in Indiana?

Just like determining fault in t-bone accidents, most rear-end collisions the rear driver is often liable for the damages caused, as the rules of the road require drivers to maintain a safe following distance. However, depending on the facts surrounding the rear-end accident case, there may be other parties responsible.

Here are some of the parties that may be potentially liable in a rear-end car accident:

The Rear Driver

Tailgating or driving too closely behind another vehicle is a reckless act. In such situations, if the driver rear-ends another car, they may be liable for the damages.

Suppose James is driving his vehicle and fails to notice that another driver, Frank, is following too closely behind. To avoid hitting an animal on the road, James immediately brakes, leaving no room for Frank to swerve, resulting in a rear-end car accident.

In the above example, Frank may be liable for the damages caused, as he was tailgating James, which is a reckless action. It's important to note that rear-end drivers may be responsible even if there are factors outside their control.

Suppose it was heavily snowing, and Frank could not see the front car's tailgate lights. In that case, he may still be the at-fault driver, as the law expects drivers to adjust their speed in harsh weather conditions, be aware of their surroundings, and leave enough room between vehicles.

The Driver in the Lead Car

While rear-end drivers may be responsible for most rear-end crashes, there may be some situations where the driver in the lead car may have contributed to the accident. Some of these include the following:


A rear-end collision could happen when the driver in the lead car swerves unexpectedly into the other lane, leaving no time for the rear vehicle to avoid the accident. This may occur due to distracted driving, failure to pay attention, or alcohol impairment.

When the driver in the lead car swerves unexpectedly and causes a rear-end collision, they may be liable for the damages caused.

Brake Check

Intentionally checking a car's brake in the middle of a busy road is a reckless act and an aggressive maneuver. Even if the driver in the rear vehicle is following closely, there is no excuse for braking abruptly without any reason. This could lead to liability, for which the injured victim may be able to pursue a personal injury case or lawsuit.

Improper Turns

Drivers must know the right-of-way laws and yield to oncoming traffic before making a turn. It's also important to check the mirrors before turning into other lanes to prevent collisions with the vehicles in the rear. Misjudgment or reckless actions could lead to a serious rear-end collision, for which the lead driver may be liable.

Failure to Signal

Turn signals are important, as they let the rear motorists know that the lead driver is making a turn. This gives them enough time to slow down or switch lanes to prevent a rear-end collision. This is especially common in determining fault at an intersection.

However, some drivers may be unaware, distracted, or simply negligent and fail to signal. Such reckless actions could lead to a rear-end collision, and injured victims may have the right to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover compensatory damages.

Non-functioning Brake Lights

By law, all drivers must have working brake lights. If the lights don't work, motor vehicle owners must repair or replace them to ensure compliance.

A rear-end collision due to non-functioning brake lights could lead to liability, for which the other driver may be able to bring a civil action to obtain compensation.

Back-up Accidents

Back-up accidents are common in parking lots. However, these types of collisions can also occur on roads and highways.

Drivers in the lead motor vehicles may always be liable for the damages if they back their cars into the automobiles in the rear. They must check their mirrors and blind spots to avoid crashing into other road users.

Determining Fault in a Rear-end Collision in Indiana

Determining Fault in a Rear-end Collision in Indiana

After getting rear-ended, the injured victims not only have to seek medical treatment but also investigate the incident to gather enough evidence to help them pursue a personal injury claim.

Even if the affected parties are able to build a claim without the assistance of car accident lawyers, they may face a lot of hurdles from the insurance companies. In most accident cases, the frustration levels of the injured victims are at an all-time high, and they often accept a lower settlement offer to get done with the legal process and move on.

Car accident lawyers can help investigate the facts surrounding the case to hold the other driver or party responsible and calculate the damages to negotiate a fair settlement.

Injured Victims Must Schedule a Free Consultation with Indiana Car Accident Lawyers!

Whether it's failing to maintain a safe distance or drunk driving, the car accident lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have decades of combined experience fighting for the rights of the affected parties and helping them win against big insurance companies.

Those who have suffered injuries in a rear-end car accident in Indianapolis, Indiana, should call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, as they can help evaluate the case and increase their chances of recovering compensation!


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