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Five Situations Where Lead Driver May Be at Fault for Causing a Rear-End Collision

Posted by Russell West | Feb 15, 2023 | 0 Comments

Rear-end collisions are a common type of auto accident on our roads. While the driver following behind is often presumed to be at fault for causing this type of collision, that is not always the case. Below, we will discuss the five scenarios where the lead driver may be liable for causing a rear-end collision.

If you were involved in a rear-end collision, contact our Spokane auto accident lawyer at West Law Office to investigate your accident and determine fault. Our lawyer will do everything possible to gather all available evidence proving the other driver's fault to maximize your compensation.

When is the Lead Driver at Fault for Causing a Rear-End Crash?

Let's review the five situations in which the lead driver may be fully or partially at fault for causing a rear-end collision:

  1. Pulling out in front of another vehicle. If a driver pulls out into traffic without checking to make sure it is safe to execute the maneuver, they may cause a rear-end collision with an oncoming vehicle. This is especially true if they pull out too quickly or do not give other drivers enough time to react and stop safely.
  2. Hitting the brakes too abruptly for no reason. If the lead driver slams on their brakes without warning, it can cause a rear-end collision with the vehicle behind them that cannot stop in time. This situation is especially dangerous if there is no apparent reason for braking suddenly and unexpectedly.
  3. Driving with broken brake lights. If a lead driver has broken brake lights, they are essentially sending false signals to drivers behind them by not letting them know when they are slowing down or stopping. This can lead to rear-end collisions as drivers behind them may not have had enough time to slow down or come to a complete stop before hitting them from behind.
  4. Making an unsafe lane change. When making lane changes, the lead driver should always check their mirrors and blind spot to make sure it is safe before proceeding with their maneuver. Failing to do so may result in a rear-end collision if another vehicle is already occupying that lane or if there isn't enough space for them to merge safely without cutting off other drivers.
  5. Reversing into the rear vehicle. If the lead driver reverses into another vehicle from behind, then they could potentially be held liable for causing a rear-end collision if it was done recklessly or carelessly without regard for other vehicles in the area.

In most cases, all five of these situations will involve some degree of negligence on behalf of the lead driver, which may put them at fault for causing a rear-end collision. However, that is not to say that the rear driver will not be held liable at all. It is not uncommon for both the lead and the rear driver to share fault for the crash.

In fact, Washington follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which reduces the amount awarded to an individual based on their degree of fault (RCW § 4.22.005). In order to determine who is legally responsible, each situation must be evaluated within its own context, taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances. That is why you may want to get help from an experienced attorney to assist you with determining fault.

Discuss Your Situation with a Lawyer Today

If you were involved in a rear-end collision as someone who got hit from behind or someone who crashed into the back of another vehicle, you might want to contact a knowledgeable attorney to investigate your situation and determine fault. Contact West Law Office to schedule a free consultation and discuss your unique situation today. Call 509-993-0748. 

About the Author

Russell West

Russell West from West Law Office, located in Spokane, Washington represents clients in areas of criminal traffic, misdemeanors, and personal injury. DUI’s, Reckless Driving, Negligent driving, Hit and Run, and Driving with Suspended license are the majority of criminal traffic violations. Drug Charges, Theft, and Domestic Violence account for most of the other criminal cases Russell handles.


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West Law Office - Russell West Attorney

Spokane Attorney Russell West practice areas include: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Motorcycle Accidents, Slip and Falls, DUIs, DOL Hearings, Criminal Traffic, Expungement/Vacating Records, and Insurance Bad Faith

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