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What Is The Law On Rear End Accidents?

Rear end accidents happen all over Texas, and for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of rear end vehicles are based on negligence, and include the following:

  • Failure of the following driver to control their speed;
  • The following driver was operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • The vehicle was in an improperly maintained condition, i.e., brakes were defective, and caused the accident;
  • Failure of the following driver to pay attention to the road and other vehicles; and/or
  • The following driver was distracted while driving, i.e., using a cell phone, texting, eating, etc.

The fault for a rear end collision in Texas is not specifically provided for under the law. At best, the Texas Transportation Code Section 545.062 provides that an operator of a motor vehicle shall maintain a safe following distance based on the speed of each vehicle, traffic, and highway conditions, such that the following vehicle is able to safely stop without colliding into the preceding vehicle.

As a general rule, the liability for a rear end car accident in Texas falls to the vehicle that is located in the rear position. But that does not mean all scenarios declare that the driver who was travelling in the rear position caused the accident. There are a number of situations where the vehicle that suffers rear end damage may actually be responsible for causing the rear end accident. For instance:

  • A multi-vehicle pile-up is a complicated scenario where liability for rear end damage may be attributable to multiple parties.
  • Situations in which a driver backs out of a parking space and into an oncoming vehicle could lead to rear end damage, but the fault will at least in part lie with the driver who backed out of the space.
  • A driver quickly changing lanes, and slowing immediately, may cause the following vehicle  to impact the rear end of the slowing vehicle, leading to questions about liability.

Comparative Negligence for Rear End Accidents In Texas

Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that the injured party may be at least partially responsible for their own injuries. An injured party can be found by a jury to be up to 51 percent responsible for the accident and still recover damages; however, if the injured party is found to be more than 51 percent responsible for their own injuries, then they are unable to recover anything. When the injured party is at least partially responsible for their injuries, their recovery amount is reduced by the percentage of their own liability.

What If I’m A Passenger In A Wreck?

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