What If I’m Involved in A Rear-End Accident? 

Posted: July 6, 2022

rear end accidentRear-end accidents are a common type of motor-vehicle accident.  Someone who rear-ends another motorist must come forward with a “non-negligent” explanation for the collision. 

Many rear-end collisions occur because at least one of the drivers was distracted. The rear-ending driver may have been looking at the radio display, aphone, or perhaps children in the backseat. These sorts of distractions can take the driver’s attention away from the road for just a moment, and that is all it takes. Just one brake application ahead can result in a rear-end collision that seriously injures someone. 

Is the rear-ending driver always at fault? An experienced personal injury lawyer can assess the situation, because every situation is unique, but New York courts have developed a body of rules that will apply in these situations. 

According to New York courts, “A rear-end collision with a stopped or stopping vehicle creates a prima facie case of negligence with respect to the operator of the moving vehicle, and imposes a duty on the operator of the moving vehicle to come forward with an adequate, [nonnegligent] explanation for the accident.” In other words, if a driver or occupant can show that the accident happened when the other driver rear-ended the vehicle, that itself will give rise to a prima facie case of negligence, and it will be up to the rear-ending driver to provide a non-negligent explanation for the collision. 

Drivers should always obey the vehicle and traffic law. There are New York laws specific to following too closely and drivers exercising due care

Under these circumstances, what is a non-negligent explanation for a rear-end collision? Courts have held that if the driver’s foot slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator, that is not a non-negligent explanation. Courts have also held, however, that where there is evidence the preceding motorist stopped very abruptly and there are other circumstances increasing the likelihood of an accident, a jury might find that a non-negligent explanation exists. 

An experienced attorney can help establish liability in a rear-end collision by securing evidence that the rear-ending motorist lacked a non-negligent explanation for the collision. This evidence can include surveillance footage, witness statements, and, when necessary, expert reconstruction testimony. 

Injured in a Rear-End Collision? Call William Mattar.

At William Mattar, we focus on personal-injury cases stemming from car accidents. With more than 30 years of experience representing thousands of injured victims, our personal injury lawyers can help you after an accident. Call our office, at (844) 444-4444, or visit our website and fill out a contact form or chat with us. 

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