Who is at fault for a rear-end collision in Texas?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Determining who is at fault for a Texas collision is important, as crash victims can’t seek rightful compensation until they understand why their injurious crash occurred in the first place. Fault influences everything from insurance coverage to liability in civil court. Drivers who want to use insurance to repair their vehicle or cover medical costs are often eager to prove that they are not the ones at fault for a crash and that the responsibility lies with the other driver and/or a third party.

Being at fault for a crash may open someone up to litigation and could also cause a higher insurance premium in the future. Some collisions require professional analysis to establish who is truly at fault, while the fault in other situations may be far more obvious. For example, fault for a rear-end collision generally rests with the operator of the follow vehicle but this is not always the case.

Fault depends on the details

Although a few states do have statutes specifically making the driver in the rear vehicle responsible for rear-end crashes, Texas does not have such a statute on the books. Police officers responding to a report of a rear-end crash might determine that either driver was responsible or that neither of them actually was. For example, if there was some kind of chemical leak from another vehicle in traffic that made the road unreasonably slick, drivers may not know that they will be unable to stop in time when traffic conditions change. A police officer could then determine that neither driver was at fault for the crash.

However, it is quite common for the driver in the rear to be the one to blame for a rear-end collision. They may have driven at a speed that was too fast given traffic density and other factors. They may also have failed to maintain a reasonable stopping distance between the front end of their vehicle and the rear end of the vehicle in front of them. At least three seconds of space between vehicles is usually necessary to prevent a rear-end collision.

Of course, sometimes the driver in front could also be to blame. They might cut someone off when turning or merging, leaving them with no opportunity to decelerate before a crash occurs. They might also slam on the brakes or do something else unpredictable that directly contributes to a crash.

Understanding how to establish who is at fault for a crash in Texas may help motorists more effectively pursue compensation from those that caused an injurious wreck.