Contrary to popular belief, rear-end collisions are not always automatically the rear-ender’s fault. Though it is more common that the driver in the back is at fault, there are several reasons they may not be. Because Massachusetts is a no fault state, the driver’s own insurance usually covers any injuries or damage sustained in the accident. However, a rear end collision may warrant a bit more investigation into the cause of the accident, especially if the driver’s insurance will not cover more severe injuries or damage.
The reason drivers in the back are usually considered at fault for a rear end collision is because of his or her duty to drive responsibly. If the driver in front stops abruptly, the driver in the back should be at an adequate distance to stop in time. However, there are a few situations where the driver in the front may be at fault:
These scenarios indicate that the driver in the front was acting in a negligent manner, or acting in a manner which was thoughtless or careless, directly affecting the accident. In any personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove negligence to receive compensation. With many car accidents, determining negligence is relatively cut and dry. With rear end collisions, however, it can be a bit more complicated.
If you were rear ended, you must prove you fulfilled all of your responsibilities as a driver and exercised reasonable care while driving. For example, if you were talking on the phone when the collision occurred, or stopped abruptly to turn without a signal, you will be considered just as negligent as the other driver. If you were the driver in the back, you will have to prove the front driver neglected his or her duty to exercise reasonable care on the road. Massachusetts follows a comparative negligence clause, which allows both parties to be at fault to a certain extent.
The state of Massachusetts uses a modified comparative negligence clause to determine liability in a car accident. This means that even though both parties may be at fault to some degree, the majority at fault party will be responsible for damages. For example, if you were in a rear-end collision and found to be 49% at fault, while the other party was found 51% at fault, you will be able to recover damages from the at-fault party. However, if the fault was found to be 50/50, neither of you will be able to recover damages from the other. Comparative negligence is helpful in rear-end situations, where it is common that both drivers may be at fault to some extent.
If you are seeking damages and have been in a rear-end collision, whether as the front or the back driver, contact the offices of Sweeney Merrigan Law today. Based out of Boston, MA, we serve clients across the entire state of Massachusetts. We are exceptionally experienced in several specialties of personal injury law, including rear-end collisions. We represent our clients effectively and fight to get them the compensation they need. We will work to get you compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, vehicle repair, and other damages. Contact us today to see what we can to for you.