More than one-quarter of all motor vehicle accidents are rear-end collisions, the most common type of wreck in this country. Commonly caused by speeding, tailgating, or distracted driving, rear-end crashes can leave passengers with severe head, neck, and back injuries. The costs of medical care and property damage after a rear-end wreck can add more stress and worry for already traumatized victims.
While a personal injury claim for losses after a wreck is an option, proving liability for a rear-end car accident is a bit more complex than in other types of crashes. It may seem the following driver is automatically responsible for hitting the driver in front of them, but that is not always the case. Proving fault is more challenging in these types of accidents. A skilled Virginia Beach car accident law firm is equipped to evaluate the details of the wreck and determine if the leading driver’s actions possibly caused the crash.
Liability in Rear-End Car Accidents
Virginia law requires every driver to maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of them. For this reason, the following driver is generally presumed to be at-fault for a rear-end car accident. Yet, there are numerous scenarios where the second driver may not have been aware or able to stop in time to prevent a wreck.
The first driver may be liable for a rear-end accident if:
- They are driving a vehicle with defective brake lights
- They slow or stop suddenly
- They begin a turn but change their mind and proceed forward instead
- They merge or turn without signaling
- They reverse suddenly
All these driving behaviors do not allow the following driver to respond and react in time. They may prove the first driver failed to uphold the expected standard of care. Because the leading driver failed to do what the average driver would do in the same situation; their negligence caused the wreck. A Virginia Beach car accident lawyer who advocates for the driver of the second vehicle works to prove:
- A duty of care to drive safely existed
- The first driver breached this duty with negligent driving behavior
- This breach of duty caused a wreck
- The wreck caused bodily harm or property damage
If all the criteria are met, the first driver is likely partially or fully responsible for the rear-end car accident.
What to Do If You are in a Rear-End Car Accident
Because rear-end accidents can often be more complicated than other types of wrecks, it is much more than just one driver’s word against another’s when it comes to determining liability. For this reason, anyone involved in a rear-end accident should take the following steps to protect their rights and any potential claim for losses related to the accident.
If you are hit from behind by another driver or if you were unable to avoid hitting the car in front of you, you should:
- Seek immediate medical attention
- Notify the police
- If you are stable, take photos or video of the accident scene
- Gather contact information from any witnesses
- Notify your auto insurance provider
- Contact your Virginia Beach car accident lawyer
Our Virginia Beach Car Accident Law Firm Advocates for Clients Injured in Rear-End Crashes
When it comes to determining who is to blame for a crash, rear-end accidents are not always straightforward. It takes a skilled Virginia Beach car accident law firm to review every detail of a wreck and figure out what went wrong. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we understand the unique challenges of proving liability for serious car accidents and leave no stone unturned in pursing the compensation you deserve for life-changing injuries and financial costs after an accident. Call 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our services. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent clients in and around Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.