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Who Is at Fault for a Rear-End Collision?

Home » FAQs » Who Is at Fault for a Rear-End Collision?


Many believe the rear driver is always at fault for a rear-end collision. While that is true in most cases, there are some exceptions. The circumstances of a crash determine who is liable for injuries and damages. Any victims can pursue compensation based on the case’s facts and fight to hold the at-fault party accountable. 

If you need help holding the other driver accountable for your rear-end collision, working with a Texas car accident lawyer may be your best option. Many law firms provide free case reviews, where you can learn more about the applicable laws, the services the firm offers, and your options for seeking compensation. 

Who Might Be Liable for a Rear-End Collision?

In Texas, there are several possibilities for who is liable after a crash. It could be one driver or both drivers. Under some circumstances, it is neither of the involved drivers, but another negligent party. This is true even in some rear-end collisions. 

Understanding how and why a crash occurred is necessary to determine who is at fault. Most collisions occur because of a driver’s carelessness or recklessness. Lawyers often refer to this as “negligence.” When a driver acts negligently and causes a rear-end crash, it is generally because: 

  • The driver had a legal responsibility to keep a safe distance behind the car in front of them.
  • They failed to do so by following too closely.
  • This caused a crash when the driver in the rear was not paying close attention or was distracted while driving and did not see the vehicle in front slowing or stopped
  • The victims in the front vehicle suffered injuries and other damages as a result.

However, exceptions exist. For example, suppose the front car did not have working brake lights or pulled out in front of the other driver without warning. In these cases, a crash might be unavoidable for the rear driver, despite following all traffic laws.

Why do Many Believe the Rear Driver Is Always at Fault?

There is a myth that the rear driver is always at fault in a rear-end crash. While this is generally true, there are exceptions. 

Drivers are responsible for leaving enough stopping distance between their car and the vehicle in front of them. Traffic laws also require drivers to pay careful attention to the traffic around them, stop at stop signs and red lights, and follow other rules. In most cases, when the rear car driver follows these rules, they should not hit the back end of another vehicle.

However, circumstances are not as clear-cut in every case. Yes, the rear driver tends to be at fault in most of these crashes. Sometimes the front driver contributes to or causes the collision, though. In others, someone else entirely is negligent and causes the collision. This is why investigating these crashes and identifying what caused them matters.

What does It Take to Show Negligence and Liability in a Rear-End Collision Case?

Several parties investigate traffic accidents. The law enforcement officers who respond to the scene, the insurance companies involved, and the car accident attorneys representing each party gather and analyze evidence. They must understand what happened and who caused the wreck. 

If you suffered injuries in a rear-end collision in Texas, hiring an attorney to represent you is a good way to ensure someone investigates what happened with your best interests in mind. Your lawyer will take the necessary steps to document what happened and work to prove the other driver caused your crash. The evidence could include: 

  • The accident report filed by the responding law enforcement officers
  • Photos or video of the collision
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Accident scene survey
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Relevant medical records
  • Information from medical and economic experts
  • Documentation of damages

Once your Texas car accident lawyer has this evidence, they will organize it to tell a compelling story about what happened and why you deserve fair compensation. This supports their settlement negotiations or their argument to the judge and jury at trial. 

What Are My Next Steps to Recover Compensation After a Rear-End Collision?

An attorney generally seeks compensation for a client hurt in a rear-end crash in two ways:

Insurance Claim and Negotiated Settlement

Insurance claims are the most common way crash victims recover compensation for their injuries and damages. Texas law allows the victim to file a claim based on the at-fault driver’s auto liability coverage. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, this required coverage is how most drivers guarantee they can pay for a crash they cause. 

The attorney demands fair compensation for the crash. Typically, the insurer refuses to pay this amount, but it usually triggers a counteroffer and begins settlement negotiations. These negotiations often continue until the insurance company issues a fair offer or the attorney decides to try a different approach to getting justice. 

Personal Injury Lawsuit

Crash victims can sue the at-fault driver at any time during the process, as long as the statute of limitations found in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 has not yet passed. 

While some believe lawsuits always result in a trial, that is not true. Many cases still settle out of court even after the attorney files a lawsuit.

However, if your case does go to trial, a judge or jury will hear the evidence in the case and decide who is at fault for the rear-end collision and how much money, if any, the victim(s) should receive. 

Connect With Our Team About Your Rear-End Collision Case

If you suffered injuries in a rear-end collision in Dallas, Houston, Tyler, Odessa, Fort Worth, or another area in Texas, Domingo Garcia is here to help. We provide free consultations for crash victims. Our attorneys have represented clients in car accident claims and lawsuits for 35 years. We know how to manage these cases and let you focus on healing. 

Contact us today for your free legal case review.

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    Attorney Domingo Garcia has led an active civic, legal and political career. He was born in Midland, Texas and grew up in Dallas, Texas. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Texas in 1980.

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