The issue of who is at fault for a crash influences who must assume financial responsibility for the consequences it generates. The driver to blame for a wreck could potentially face sizable insurance claims or even civil lawsuits if others suffer property damage losses or injuries because of the crash.
Determining fault for a wreck can be a complex process, but sometimes the issue of who is to blame is relatively obvious. For example, people often rush to assume that rear-end collisions are always the fault of the driver in the back. And under most circumstances, this assumption is well founded. However, there are exceptions to this general rule of thumb.
Drivers may not have followed safely
The reason that people tend to blame the driver in the rear vehicle in a rear-end collision is that there is an assumption they could have stopped in time if they followed appropriate traffic safety practices.
Specifically, if they had maintained at least a three-second stopping distance between their front bumper and the rear bumper of the vehicle in front, they most likely could have stopped in time. Issues with their tires or brakes may also have contributed to the crash, and failure to maintain a vehicle would also make a crash that driver’s responsibility.
However, there are scenarios in which a rear-end collision is not the fault of the driver in the rear vehicle. Perhaps the driver in front did something unpredictable or erratic. Perhaps the driver in the vehicle in front had not maintained their vehicle, meaning they had burned-out brake lights so the driver in the rear was not aware of their changing velocity.
In scenarios wherein the driver in the rear can show that the person in the front vehicle did something unsafe, like pulling out in traffic unexpectedly in front of them, they may not have to bear responsibility for the rear-end collision.
Proving fault can be a complicated process
Many drivers coping with the aftermath of a major crash need help to secure the best possible outcome. In some cases, a professional recreation of the collision may be necessary to establish who is truly to blame for the crash. Other times, gathering evidence from witnesses or traffic cameras can help the driver prove what really happened. Both understanding Kentucky traffic laws and seeking legal guidance can help those hoping to hold another driver accountable after a recent car crash, especially when determining fault isn’t a straightforward process.