Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accidents in St. Louis?

Rear-end auto accidents consist of around 29% of all car crashes.

Whether you’ve been rear-ended in St. Louis and need the help of a St. Louis car accident lawyer to help with your case, or you recently rear-ended another driver and are wondering if you will be found at fault, you’re in the right place. 

Let’s discuss the basics of rear-end accidents in Missouri, and who is likely to be found at fault.

Who is Often Found At-Fault?

Missouri courts typically assign fault to the driver of the rear vehicle, as long as the driver of the front vehicle meets these conditions:

  • They were legally and rightfully driving on the road
  • Another vehicle struck their vehicle from behind
  • The front driver was not engaging in negligent behavior– for example, “brake-checking” the rear driver or coming to a sudden stop for no reason.

If these factors are shown in court, the court will presume that the defendant acted negligently and caused the accident that injured the plaintiff unless they can prove otherwise.

This is distinct from other car accident cases, where the plaintiff is responsible for proving that the defendant acted negligently

Negligence by the Front Driver Can Result in Their Fault or Shared Fault

Just because a rear driver has been in a rear-end car accident does not necessarily mean that they will be found at fault. The front driver can also be found negligent.

For example, if the front driver is speeding on a highway in poor weather conditions, and slams on their brakes without warning as they try to swerve onto a highway exit they almost missed, they may cause a rear driver to collide with them. 

If there is proof of these actions, the rear driver may not be found negligent, since the unsafe and negligent actions of the front driver are what caused the accident. 

Missouri is also a “shared fault” state, which means both parties can be found to be at fault. The rear driver may be found to be 60% at fault, while the front driver could be found to be 40% at fault. This will limit the compensation that either party can pursue for the accident. 

3 Types of Injuries in Rear-End Accidents


When your car gets hit from behind, the force of the impact will make your head jerk back and forth in a fast motion, even if you are using the car’s safety devices correctly. This can cause damage to the soft tissue in your neck, which brings stiffness, chronic pain, inflammation and other problems. 

Whiplash is one of the injuries that might be noticed later on, as you start feeling worse and fail to heal on your own. Seeing a doctor can tell you the damage you have suffered and what treatment is needed to alleviate your symptoms and fully recover.

Injuries Caused by Triggered Airbags

Airbags can save your life, but they can also hurt you when triggered in a rear-end accident. They can inflict injuries like nose fractures, rib fractures, abdominal bruising, and other soft tissue damage. If you notice any injuries in your chest or abdominal area, definitely see a doctor. 

Head Injuries and Brain Injuries

Some of the most serious injuries you can suffer in a rear-end car accident are head injuries. You can suffer penetrating injuries, or be hit with blunt force by a hard object in your car, injuries which are easy to notice right at the scene. However, brain trauma is also common, like concussions, and they will not leave any external sign. Monitor any unusual symptom after the accident and see a doctor immediately if you suspect a brain injury

Besides this top 3 of injuries caused by rear-end accidents, there are many other injuries they can inflict. See a doctor and a St. Louis car accident attorney as soon as you can after your accident to ensure you get the necessary medical care and your legal rights are protected.

Speak With an Experienced Attorney

Whether you were injured as a front-driver or a rear driver in a St. Louis car accident, you may be trying to fight back against an at-fault claim, or wish to levy further damages against the responsible party. If this is the case, get in touch with a St. Louis car accident lawyer ASAP to start building your case, and ensure your legal right to compensation is protected.

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Updated: November 24, 2020