Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen and Who’s To Blame?

Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of car accidents on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions make up about 23 percent of all car crashes, causing about 950,000 injuries each year. 

At Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers in Dallas, we are here to help you navigate your car accident claim. This blog post will explain some of the common causes of rear-end collisions and who is liable. 

Common Causes of Rear-End Car Accidents

There are a few predominant causes of rear-end car accidents. Knowing why these accidents happen can help you stay safe on the road.

Following Too Closely

Tailgating, or following the vehicle in front of you too closely, is a leading cause of rear-end collisions. The following distance is the safe distance to maintain between yourself and the car in front of you. 

This distance can be decreased if one is driving a heavier vehicle or based on conditions on the road. When drivers do not maintain a safe following distance, they have limited time to react to sudden stops by the vehicle in front. 

Distracted Driving

The prevalence of distracted driving, particularly due to cell phone use, has caused a high number of rear-end collisions. When a driver diverts their attention from the road to send a text, make a call, or even glance at their GPS, they are more likely to collide with the vehicle ahead. Checking one’s reflection, eating, and even loud music in the car are also common distractions.


Excessive speed reduces a driver’s ability to stop or slow down in time to avoid a collision. Speeding not only increases the severity of rear-end collisions but also reduces the driver’s reaction time, making it harder to prevent them. 

Conditions on the road, such as construction or ice, may reduce the permitted speed to below the posted speed limit. Drivers should remain vigilant as to whether any of those conditions is present.

Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or ice, can make roads slippery and reduce traction. In such conditions, drivers may find it challenging to stop their vehicles promptly, leading to rear-end collisions.

Sudden Stops

Sometimes, the driver in front may make an unexpected and abrupt stop, catching the following driver off guard. Sudden stops can be caused by various factors, including traffic congestion, road debris, or animals crossing the road.

Who’s To Blame in Rear-End Collisions?

Determining liability in rear-end collisions often seems straightforward, as the rear driver is typically held responsible. However, it’s essential to consider various factors that may affect the assignment of blame.

Presumption of Negligence

In most cases, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is presumed to be at fault. This presumption arises from the basic duty of all drivers to maintain a safe following distance and exercise reasonable care on the road.

Exceptions to the Rule

While the presumption of negligence against the rear driver is strong, there are situations where the lead driver may share or bear the blame:

  • Sudden and Unforeseeable Stops: If one driver makes a sudden and unforeseeable stop, it may be hard for the driver behind them to avoid a collision. Examples include a tire blowout or an animal suddenly darting onto the road.
  • Faulty Brake Lights: If the front driver’s brake lights are not functioning correctly, it may be challenging for the rear driver to know they are stopping.
  • Multiple Vehicle Collisions: In cases involving chain-reaction rear-end collisions, liability may be distributed among multiple parties, depending on their respective actions and negligence.

There may be other exceptions as well, depending on the facts of the case.

If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney like the ones at Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers in Dallas, Texas. We can evaluate the specific circumstances of your accident, gather evidence, and help determine liability.In conclusion, rear-end car accidents happen for various reasons, including tailgating, distracted driving, and adverse weather conditions. While the presumption of negligence often falls on the rear driver, exceptions do exist.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Dallas, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Dallas, Texas, and need legal help, contact our Dallas car accident lawyers at Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers
2512 State St,
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 855-1420