Ask five different people who should be liable for a tailgating accident, and you will likely get five different answers. The reality is that determining liability after an accident caused by tailgating can be challenging, even if liability seems straightforward. There are several factors that can affect liability after any type of accident, including a rear-end tailgating accident. The assistance of a car accident attorney in Houston can be invaluable when it comes down to determining who is responsible for a crash.
The Rear Driver Likely Holds Liability
Contrary to popular belief, the rear driver is not always going to be at fault for a rear-end accident. However, the rear driver will likely share liability in some way.
The reality is that the majority of rear-end accidents happen because a rear driver failed to keep a safe following distance from the vehicle or vehicles in front of them. We have all probably heard of the “two-second rule,” which is a good defensive driving tactic to leave two seconds between your vehicle and any vehicles in front of you.
However, the two-second rule is not hard and fast, and there are many variables on the roadway that change driving conditions. Drivers have to remain cognizant of potential hazards, including upcoming traffic. Drivers who fail to leave enough space to react to changing roadway conditions may be at fault for causing a rear-end collision.
Could the Front Driver Be Liable?
There are several exceptions to rear-end driver liability. In some cases, the front driver could be responsible, depending on the factors related to the incident. The lead or front driver could be liable under some of the following circumstances:
Improperly working tail lights or brake lights
Sudden braking for no reason
Driving in reverse
Failing to properly use a turn signal
Not slowing down enough to make a turn
Slowing down or stopping to turn but failing to turn
There Could be Shared Fault
If an investigation into a rear-end collision determines that more than one party was responsible for the incident, then we will have to examine the “modified comparative negligence” system in Texas. Under this type of system, individuals can still recover compensation even if they are partially responsible for causing an incident. State law says that a person who is 50% or less responsible can recover compensation, but they will receive less, depending on their percentage of fault.
For example, if a lead driver sustains $10,000 worth of damages as a result of a rear-end collision, but a jury determines the lead driver was 20% responsible for the incident because one of their brake lights was out, then they would receive $8,000 instead of the complete $10,000 to account for their percentage of fault.
Working With an Attorney
If you or somebody you care about has sustained injuries or property damage in a rear-end accident caused by the actions of another driver, contact an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled car accident lawyer with experience handling complex rear-end accidents can help you through this process. They will handle communication with insurance carriers, including any negotiations necessary. You may pension for your medical bills, property damage expenses, pain and suffering damages, and even lost wages if you are unable to work.