Car accidents are commonplace. They occur for a variety of reasons, and the scenarios for causes are endless. The rear-end collision is one of the most common types, though. Rear-end collisions resulting from distracted driving have almost become an epidemic.
If you are rear-ended, whose fault it is becomes a key question. It may not be as simple as you think.
Establishing Fault for Rear-End Collisions in Ohio
Ohio law addresses responsibility for rear-end collisions. Under Ohio traffic laws, no person is allowed to drive a motor vehicle at a greater speed than will permit the person to bring the vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead (ACDA).
This means that a driver must travel at a speed that will allow the driver to slow down or stop for a vehicle in front that slows down or stops. It’s the driver’s responsibility to determine the safe distance. What is reasonable on a clear sunny day may be unreasonable in the rain or snow. A violation of this statute is commonly known as an ACDA violation.
Due to the application of Ohio rear-end collision laws, the trailing driver is almost always at least partially at fault. A citation for an ACDA violation can expedite compensation for any personal injuries claimed as a result of the rear-end collision.
Most car accidents fall under the legal claim of negligence.
The are four elements of negligence:
- Breach of duty,
- Causation, and
To obtain compensation resulting from a rear-end collision, your lawyer must prove each element of negligence. Drivers on the road owe a duty to follow other drivers at a safe distance. A safe distance varies depending on the speed, road conditions, and other factors. Drivers who violate this duty are negligent.
If the trailing driver admits to or receives a citation for an ACDA violation, a principle called “negligence per se” may come into play. Under this doctrine, a person’s violation of a statute makes them negligent as a matter at law.
That means that proof of the trailing driver’s ACDA violation is enough to show they breached their duty of care. At that point, you need only provide evidence that their breach of duty caused the accident and that you suffered damages as a result.
The Lead Driver May Be at Fault
The rear driver is at fault in most rear-end collisions. But there are situations where the lead driver could be fully or partially at fault.
Common situations where a lead driver may be at fault include where:
- The lead driver was intoxicated,
- There was a pile-up due to a chain reaction,
- The lead vehicle unexpectedly backed up,
- The lead driver suddenly brake-checked the following driver,
- The lead driver cut off the following driver during a lane change,
- The lead vehicle had no brake lights,
- The lead vehicle made an unsafe lane change, or
- The lead driver’s vehicle was impaired.
There are many scenarios when the lead driver can be fully or partially at fault.
Measuring Fault Under Ohio Law
If someone else’s negligence injures you, you are typically entitled to compensation. Ohio is a “comparative fault state.”
Comparative fault under Ohio law allows an injured person to recover damages if the person was not more than 50% responsible for the injury. In some rear-end collisions, liability is shared between two drivers. But you cannot be more than 50% responsible for the accident that caused your injury and get compensation.
Damages for Rear-End Collisions
Besides incurring property damage to your vehicle due to a rear-end collision, you may also be injured. Getting rear-ended while stopped can cause any number of injuries.
These can include:
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Head trauma,
- Broken bones, and
- Internal organ damage.
Some of these injuries might be delayed pain injuries. It’s important to get the compensation you deserve for these injuries.
Rear-Ended? Whose Fault Is It? Bensinger Legal Services Can Help
If you are rear-ended, it is necessary to determine who is at fault. Liability may seem obvious at the outset, but details could emerge after the accident. These details could completely shift the liability allocation. Aaron Bensinger can help you sort this out.
The insurance company may be ready to admit that their insured was at fault for a rear-end collision. However, this does not mean that the insurance company will settle your claim at a fair value. It is important that you retain an experienced attorney familiar with Ohio rear-end collision laws.
Aaron Bensinger can help hold negligent drivers accountable and position you to recover full compensation for your damages. He has handled many rear-end collision cases and is prepared to go to court.