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Who Is Liable for a Rear-End Accident in Texas?

Rear-end accidents are some of the most common motor vehicle collisions in Texas. Because Texas operates under a fault-based insurance system, Determining liability after an accident. Is crucial to recovering fair compensation. Although liability in rear-end accidents may seem straightforward, there are some situations where it is not as clear-cut.

Situations Where the Rear Driver Is at Fault

Traditionally, the driver at the rear in a rear-end collision is often presumed to be at fault. This presumption stems from the expectation that all drivers will maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of them, allowing sufficient time to stop and avoid an accident.

Texas law dictates that drivers must adjust their speed to match traffic conditions and maintain control of their vehicles to prevent collisions. When a driver fails to do so and rear-ends another vehicle, they are typically considered to have breached their duty to drive safely.

Common scenarios that place fault on the rear driver include:

  • Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone
  • Driving over the posted speed limit
  • Failing to adhere to traffic signals

Situations Where the Front Driver Is at Fault

Although the rear driver is commonly at fault in rear-end accidents, there are instances where the front driver may be held liable. These situations often involve sudden and unjustifiable stops, where the front driver brakes sharply without a valid reason, making it impossible for the rear driver to avoid a collision.

Additionally, if the front vehicle’s brake lights are not functioning, the rear driver may not be warned in time to stop, placing some liability on the front driver. If a front driver executes a reckless maneuver, such as a sudden lane change without signaling, this can lead to a rear-end collision. In these cases, the front driver’s actions contribute significantly to the cause of the accident, and thus, they may bear full or partial responsibility.

Comparative Fault in Texas Rear-End Accidents

In some situations, both the rear and the front driver may be at fault for a rear-end accident. In these situations, Texas will apply its modified comparative negligence rules to the case. This means that the court will reduce the final compensation based on the plaintiff’s liability for the accident. If the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for the accident, they will not be able to recover any damages.

Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code Section 33.001. Proportionate Responsibility.

In an action to which this chapter applies, a claimant may not recover damages if his percentage of responsibility is greater than 50 percent.

For example, say that the rear driver is following at an unsafe distance, but the front driver is texting and driving. If the front driver breaks suddenly and the rear driver collides with them, the front driver could still be partially liable for the accident. If they ask for a $100,000 settlement and the court assigns them 40% of the liability, they would recover $60,000.

Speak to a Texas Car Accident Lawyer Today

Determining liability in a rear end, car accident can be more difficult than the situation may initially appear. In these situations, it is important to work with a car accident lawyer in McAllen, who can conduct an in-depth investigation into your case and help you recover the compensation, that you deserve. After the accident, reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to explore your next steps.