Rear-end collisions are common causes of property damage and injuries such as whiplash in Texas. This type of crash involves one vehicle colliding with the back of another. Rear-end collisions are almost always preventable. If you get injured in a rear-end crash in San Antonio, find out who might be responsible for paying for your losses based on Texas’ fault and comparative negligence laws.
Who Is Liable for a Rear-End Collision?
Most people assume the rear driver will automatically bear fault and legal responsibility for a rear-end collision. While it is true that the following driver often has the power to prevent these types of accidents, following drivers are not always at fault. It may take a full investigation to determine the identity of the at-fault party after a rear-end car accident in Texas.
The rear driver might be at fault if he or she was tailgating, speeding or breaking another roadway rule that placed his vehicle too close to the other vehicle. It is the rear driver’s responsibility to keep at least one car length of space between the front of his or her vehicle and the back of the front vehicle. Failure to do so could make it impossible for the rear driver to stop in time to prevent colliding with the other driver if he or she hits the brakes.
The front driver could be responsible for a rear-end collision, however, if that driver behaved in a way that a prudent driver would not have in the same circumstances. If the leading driver slammed on the brakes, merged on top of the other driver, or failed to adequately maintain his or her vehicle, that driver could be liable for a subsequent rear-end accident. Another liable party could be the city government if a preventable roadway defect, such as a pothole, caused the rear-end collision.
How Do Modified Comparative Laws in Texas Affect My Claim?
Texas is one of many states that use a modified comparative negligence law when determining award amounts in personal injury and civil trials. This law states that even if an injured victim contributed to the accident in question, he or she could still recover at least a partial compensatory award. Unlike contributory negligence states, Texas does not bar a plaintiff entirely from recovery for contributing to his or her own injuries. Instead, the courts will reduce the compensatory award by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
As long as the plaintiff is 50% or less responsible for the rear-end collision, he or she could still recover compensation in Texas. State law bars recovery at 51% of fault. Greater than the majority amount of fault for a rear-end accident will take away the victim’s option to seek financial recovery. If you were in a rear-end collision, it is recommended that you hire a San Antonio car accident attorney to help you with the claims process. A lawyer may be able to minimize your percentage of comparative fault to help you maximize your recovery amount.
Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Human error is behind most rear-end collisions and other car accidents in Texas. Rear-end collisions most commonly occur when one or both drivers breach their duties of care. Identifying the cause of your rear-end collision is one of the first steps to take toward recovering compensation.
- Failing to keep a proper lookout
- Driver distractions
- Texting and driving
- Following too closely
- Aggressive driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Merging without a blinker
- Broken brake or taillights
The cause of your collision can point to the identity of the at-fault party. If a broken taillight contributed to you colliding into the back of a vehicle you were driving behind, for instance, the leading driver could share responsibility for failing to adequately maintain his or her vehicle. Hire a San Antonio personal injury lawyer to help you work through the details and identify fault for your rear-end collision in Texas.