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Who is At Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident in Indiana?


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Rear-end car accidents are sometimes written off as fender-benders, but they can be truly severe and leave drivers with significant injuries. A few people might be at fault for the accident, including drivers behind or in front of you.

Rear-end car accidents tend to happen when the driver following you is tailgating and hits you from behind. If the defendant is tailgating you and you stop at a stop sign or red light, the defendant might not have time to stop safely, and they might crash into the rear end of your car. A significant consideration is a distance between the vehicles and how close the defendant was behind you. Generally, the tailgating driver is to blame. However, a driver in front of you who suddenly slams the brakes causing you to hit them might also be at fault. Proving liability requires establishing negligence on the part of the drivers involved.

Rear-end car accidents can be more confusing and dangerous than people realize. Our Indiana car accident attorneys can help you figure out who is at fault for the crash and how to get your damages covered. For a free case assessment, call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.

How Do Rear-End Car Accidents Happen in Indiana?

A rear-end car accident might have numerous possible causes. One of the most common causes of these accidents is one driver tailgating another. When the driver in front comes to a stop, the tailgating driver ends up rear-ending them. In some cases, the driver in front is negligent for suddenly stopping short or having broken brake lights, although this is a bit less common. Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers can help you determine how your accident happened and who is to blame.

In most cases, the plaintiff is the car in front, and the car behind them fails to brake in time when they come to a stop, thus rear-ending them. This often happens when the driver behind you is distracted and does not realize you are stopping. It is also a common result of tailgating or driving dangerously close to the car in front of you. Distracted driving and tailgating are prominent reasons behind many accidents, including rear-end collisions.

While rear-end crashes tend to be the fault of the car in the back, there are some exceptional circumstances. If the car in front of you stopped short, they might cause you to hit them from behind. In some cases, this is done for insurance fraud, and the driver in front of you wanted you to hit them so they could file an insurance claim for their “injuries.”. Other times, the driver might realize they are about to miss their turn, so they negligently hit their breaks hard to avoid having to turn around.

Sometimes, a rear-end accident happens because someone’s brakes fail. Brakes are an important piece of equipment on a vehicle, and they must be maintained and regularly replaced to ensure safety. Someone driving with faulty brakes could hit someone even if they are otherwise driving safely.

Who is At Fault for Rear-End Car Accidents in Indiana?

Now that we know how to rear-end car accidents can happen, we need to discuss who is at fault. Rear-end car accidents have numerous causes, and several people might be at fault. The driver in front, the driver in back, or an entirely different driver might be at fault for the collision. Our Fort Wayne car accident attorneys can determine who is at fault and help you hold them liable for your damages.

The Driver Behind You

If you were the driver in front who was hit from behind, the driver behind you might be at fault for the accident. Even if you were the one who stopped short, the other driver might be at fault if you had a good reason to stop and they were driving unreasonably close to you.

For example, you have a good reason to stop if someone runs out into the street or tries to cross an intersection when they are supposed to wait. If this or another similar event happened, you might have been taken by surprise and slammed your brakes to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, if the driver behind you was driving too closely or tailgating, they might hit you. In that case, the driver behind you would be at fault because they did not leave a safe distance between themselves and your vehicle.

The Driver in Front of You

In other cases, the driver in front is at fault for the collision. For example, suppose the driver in front in this scenario also stopped short, causing you to crash into them. If the reason for stopping short was unreasonable or otherwise unsafe, that driver might be at fault. Stopping short to avoid missing a turn or to try to cut off another driver would not be good reasons.

In some cases, drivers in front of you might stop short with the intention of causing a collision. They then accuse you of being at fault in the hopes that you agree to pay them a settlement out of fear of a lawsuit. After any rear-end car accident, you should speak to an attorney.

Other Drivers on the Road

Still, in other cases, neither the drivers in front nor the back are at fault for the accident. Instead, other drivers on the road cause the collision, even if they are not involved in the crash. For example, suppose Driver A cut off Driver B in front of you, causing Driver B to stop short, thus causing you to strike Driver B from behind. Driver A might be the one at fault because it was their reckless driving that directly caused the crash. Cases with multiple drivers are sometimes tricky, and our Indiana car accident attorneys can help you reconstruct the scene to figure out who is at fault.

Proving Liability in Rear-End Car Accident Cases in Indiana

Our South Bend car accident attorneys must establish that the other driver was negligent in order to prove a driver is at fault for the rear-end accident. Negligence is a legal concept that comprises four critical elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. All four elements must be established for you to be successful and get compensation.

The first element, duty, is the legal obligation the defendant owed to you at the time of the crash. In car accident cases, this duty is often the driver’s legal duty to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances and to follow traffic laws about tailgating and following distance.

The second element, breach, is the action or inaction by the defendant that violated their duty. Common examples include traffic violations, like disobeying traffic signs and signals. In a rear-end case, the breach might be the defendant’s failure to stop, speeding, or following too closely.

The third element, causation, deals with the link between the breach and the accident. Essentially, we must show that the defendant’s breach is the proximate and direct cause of the accident. Finally, we must prove that your damages are real, not just possibilities.

Call Our Indiana Car Accident Lawyers for Help

Our Hammond, IN car accident lawyers, can help you sue for damages if you were injured in a rear-end accident. For a free case assessment, call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.

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Top-Rated Litigator.
Helping injury victims move forward.

Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.

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In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.

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More than 40 Years of Experience.
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For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.

Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.

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