When there is a rear-end accident, the rule of thumb is that the driver who was behind is almost always at fault. There are rare exceptions to this, but the police are usually going to assume that driver was at fault unless there is a clear reason why not.
But why do they make this assumption? Surely there are many drivers who have gotten involved in rear-end accidents who would say that it was not actually their fault, so what basis is there for this claim?
A proper stopping distance
The issue is that drivers are required to keep enough space between cars that they have a proper stopping distance at all times. They should always be able to stop to avoid a crash. It doesn’t matter if they’re driving 20 miles an hour or 70 miles an hour. They need to have enough distance that they can react in time and prevent hitting the car ahead of them.
This is true even if that car does something unexpected. For instance, maybe the driver thought that they saw an animal on the side of the road and they slammed on the brakes. The driver behind them may run into the back of the car and then claim it was not their fault because the front driver never should have hit the brakes that hard. It’s understandable that this driver would be frustrated, but the reality is that they needed to have a bigger following distance and their inability to stop in time was still their own fault.
If you’ve been injured in a crash like this, it’s important to know how fault works and what steps to take to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.