Is It Always My Fault If I Rear-Ended Someone?

Lou Pendas

Legally reviewed by Lou Pendas on September 19, 2022 Lou Pendas is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.


There are some types of accidents where it is fairly clear who is at fault, or at least it is assumed who is at fault without close inspection. Accidents like left-turn collisions at intersections, rear-end accidents, and head-on collisions often fall into this category. But just because an accident falls into one of these categories, it does not mean that the driver who is typically considered at fault will always be held liable.

When Is a Rear-End Crash Not The Rear Driver’s Fault?

Below are a few examples of collisions that could be determined to be someone else’s fault, even if you were the one who rear-ended a lead vehicle. That said, one of the best things that you can do is to partner with an attorney as soon as possible because, in these types of cases, the insurance company representing the other driver will likely try to put all of the blame on you.

You Were Forced To Stop Suddenly

The leading car may have stopped short for any number of reasons, including to avoid another accident that you could not see — or they may be giving you a “brake check” as a form of road rage or other aggressive driving. If the driver in front of you stops short and you cannot stop in time to avoid a crash, it is possible that the other driver could be at fault.

The Leading Driver Swerved Into Your Lane Suddenly

Similar to the first example, if the car in front of you swerves into your lane without warning and you cannot avoid a collision, the other driver may be held liable. Evidence like eyewitness accounts or dashcam footage are both exceptionally helpful in proving that there was nothing you could have done.

The Leading Driver Was Reversing

This one may seem a bit far-fetched, but it happens. If the car in front of you was backing up when you collided with it, the other driver could be held at fault, especially if this took place at a stop light or elsewhere on the open road where reversing is not appropriate.

Defective Traffic Signals

If you collide with another car because a traffic signal was not working properly, the party responsible for maintaining the signal could be held liable. This type of case will be even more complicated, because both you and the other driver may ultimately be filing claims against the local — or federal — government, which means there are a number of specific steps you will need to follow that are best carried out with the help of an experienced attorney.

The Lead Driver’s Brake Lights Were Not Working

If the driver in front of you had a brake light that was not working, and you collided with the back of their car as a result, they could be held liable. Once again, this is the kind of situation where having an attorney on your side will be invaluable because proving that the other driver’s brake lights were not working can be difficult.

The Lead Driver Intentionally Tried To Get Hit

Insurance fraud is unfortunately common, and one of the ways people commit fraud is by intentionally stopping short so that the person behind them will rear-end their car. If you have reason to believe that this is what happened, an experienced attorney can help you build a case.

What To Do After a Rear-End Crash That You Did Not Cause

If you rear-ended another vehicle, but you believe that you are not responsible for the crash, trying to make your case to the insurance company may be an exercise in frustration. It is always best to partner with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you understand your legal options and protect your rights.

Suppose you have been involved in a rear-end collision. In that case, it is important to understand that you may not be automatically at fault just because you rear-ended the other vehicle, even if the insurance company tries to make you believe otherwise.

Remember that getting medical care is your top priority, but consider the following steps to take in this situation to protect your legal interests:

Record Your Side of the Story As Soon As Possible

After the crash, one of the best things that you can do to help your case is to gather evidence like video and photographs. If possible, talk over your video and point out specifics that show how the other driver was at fault for the crash.

Get Witnesses to Write Down What They Saw

If there were any witnesses to the crash, get their contact information so that your attorney can talk to them about what they saw. Having a second or third set of eyes on your crash can provide insights into the situation that you may not have noticed otherwise, like erratic behavior leading up to your collision.

Do Not Admit Fault To the Other Driver or Insurance Company

Even if you think that the crash may have been your fault, or if you aren’t sure at the moment, do not say so to the other driver or the insurance company. Anything that you say could be used against you later on, even if you did not mean for it to be an admission of fault.

Contact a Lawyer Immediately

One of the best things that you can do to protect your interests is to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will know how to deal with the insurance company and fight for the compensation that you deserve.

Contact 1-800-Injured To Request a Free Consultation With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, don’t wait to get help. 1-800-Injured is a legal and medical referral service that helps car accident victims find an attorney in their area who will sit with them through a free consultation and help them make sense of their situation. Using our service is free, and you will have no obligation to work with the attorney after your consultation.

The attorneys in our network operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you won’t pay them anything upfront, and they only get paid if they win your case. To request a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in your area, call 1-800-Injured today or fill out our online form.