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.
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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