One of the strongest driving laws on the books is the one that says you should always drive with enough space between you and the car in front of you to stop safely before having a collision. This law is ignored, at least sometimes, by almost every driver. The presumption of fault lies with the driver deemed to be the most reckless in an accident.
Fault is usually assigned to the driver who rear ends another car.
The driving manual that new drivers must read and pass a test over before receiving a license is filled with stopping distances at various speeds in different driving conditions. Little tricks to help you determine the proper distance to lag behind the car in front of you are offered so that you will leave enough space to stop safely. If you rear end another car, it is generally assumed that you were following too closely at the speed you were traveling.
At high speeds, only fractions of a second are needed to spell the difference between a safe stop and a rear end accident.
Any distraction that causes you to either take your eyes off the road or allows your mind to lose concentration on driving can result in an accident. When this happens, you will be considered at fault and will be liable for all of the damage created by the accident. Things like talking on a phone, text messaging, trying to scold the kids or a variety of other routine activities can be enough to create the reckless condition leading to a rear end accident. You may not notice the turn signal or brake lights of the car in front of you until it is too late to adjust and prevent an accident from occurring.
Faulty equipment on the car in front can cause the fault to be reduced or eliminated.
Because some people do not keep their cars in good repair, there are conditions where the blame for a rear end accident may not all rest with the trailing driver. It can be very difficult to determine that the car in front of you is stopping if their brake lights do not work. The same can be true of a broken turn signal. While you may not be held blameless in this type of scenario, the amount of fault may be split and may be considered equal in some cases. This would mean that each driver would be responsible for an equal amount of the damage assessed to the vehicles.
Poor driving by the lead driver can also affect the assignment of blame for the accident.
Not all drivers perform equally on the road. Drivers who make improper turns or fail to signal before turning can create conditions that make it hard for drivers behind them to make the appropriate corrections to avoid a rear end accident. You need to be aware that proving poor driving can be difficult unless you have third party witnesses that are willing to testify.
If equipment problems or poor driving affected the circumstances of the accident, you need to file a police report immediately that specifies that this is the case.
This report will provide your insurance company with documentation to work with when settling the claim. This can also help prevent you from getting a reckless driving citation that will further affect your insurance rates in the future.