When it comes to determining rear-end collision fault, most people assume that the driver who does the rear-ending is always liable for the accident. And while that may seem to make sense, it’s not always the case. To learn more about how to determine fault in a rear-end accident, contact a Birmingham AL car accident attorney at Petro Law Firm today.

What Is Alabama’s Contributory Negligence Law?

Most states in the U.S. have adopted a comparative negligence model of determining fault. This means that a plaintiff may recover damages even in cases where they are partly to blame. Alabama is not among those states. Alabama operates on a strict contributory negligence rule, which means that if the plaintiff shares any of the blame, then they cannot recover damages from the defendant.
In other words, a defendant who successfully shows that a plaintiff is partly to blame for an accident will successfully defend themselves against a negligence lawsuit.

Rear-End Collision Fault Isn’t Black and White

It’s absolutely false that rear-end collisions are always the fault of the driver who did the rear-ending. In many cases, the driver can successfully argue that the plaintiff shared some of the blame barring them from collecting damages.
While tailgating, speeding, and distracted driving are by far the most common causes of rear-end collisions, there are a number of reasons why the rear-ender could be (at least partly) at fault. These include:

  • Illegal lane change,
  • Cutting another driver off,
  • Failing to signal properly,
  • And stopping suddenly.

These are all reasons why the driver who got rear-ended may be to blame for an accident. In addition, if one or both of your brake lights are out, the other driver may raise this as a defense to the accident. So it’s important to understand that, if you have any blame at all, then you cannot recover damages in a suit against the driver.

Stopping Suddenly Is Not a Great Way to Discourage Tailgating

If you feel a driver is driving too closely, many drivers feel the urge to stop suddenly causing the other driver to crash into their rear. Not a great plan. Even if the driver was driving within an inch of your bumper and that was really getting on your nerves, Alabama’s strict contributory negligence rule will prevent you from collecting damages for any of your injuries.

What to Do If You’re in a Rear-End Accident

Rear-end accidents are by far the most common type of traffic accident. Over a third of all accidents will be rear-end collisions. Determining fault in these accidents is generally not very difficult. The other driver was not maintaining a lawful safe distance from the other vehicle. And when the other vehicle stopped, they drove right into them. Rear-end accidents also happen due to distracted driving or an inability to stop in time because the other driver was driving too fast.
Nonetheless, a busted tail light can prevent you from collecting any damages for your injuries in Alabama under the right circumstances. If you’re in a rear-end car accident, you could suffer whiplash, a concussion, or a back injury. Those are all pretty serious injuries. They can prevent you from doing your job and you might be in a bit of pain for a while. You want to be able to recover damages for:

  • your medical damages,
  • any missed time from work, and
  • pain and suffering.

In order to do that, your hands need to be clean. That means driving with both your brake lights in working order and obeying the laws of traffic. It also means you can’t stop suddenly just because the guy behind you is being a jerk.

Talk to a Birmingham AL Car Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve been in a rear-end accident, chances are, the other driver is going to blame you for something. This prevents you from collecting damages. The Birmingham AL car accident attorneys at Petro Law Firm can help you gather evidence, conduct an investigation, and ensure that your right to recover damages is protected. To learn more about rear-end collision fault, contact us today.