If you hit another vehicle from behind, there is a common perception an accident is your fault. However, this assumption cannot always be made if you are involved in a rear-ender wreck.

The concept of negligence is more important in apportioning blame for car crashes in Georgia than the circumstances in some cases. While many drivers who hit other cars from behind will be judged to be liable, another driver may have pulled out in front of you. There was no way you could avoid hitting him.

Negligence is the term used by attorneys and courts to describe when conduct falls below an established standard of care.

You are considered to be negligent if your actions fall short of what a reasonable individual would or would not have done under the circumstances that resulted in the accident.

a rear-ender wreck

Liability in a rear-ender wreck

The first test that needs to be established is to prove that a duty exists. This is not a major obstacle on the road when there are clear rules and you have a duty to exercise due care when operating a motor vehicle.

This means you should pay attention and not speed or be drunk or distracted.

Drivers can breach their duty of reasonable care in a number of ways including:

  • Failing to pay attention to the highway and to look out for hazards
  • Failing to maintain proper control of a car, truck or motorcycle.
  • Failing to stop within a reasonable time
  • failing to drive at a reasonable speed that’s not merely related to the posted speed limit but to conditions.
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to drive sober;
  • Failing to use turn signals and
  • Failing to follow at a safe distance behind the vehicle in front.

In order to prove liability in an accident, you should prove the other driver’s breach of duty was the cause of an accident. You must also prove you were left with injuries caused by the breach.

You are meant to maintain a safe distance behind another vehicle. That distance should be longer in wet weather. If you fail to do so and are involved in a rear-end accident, the fault will likely be yours. Here are some circumstances in which you may not be liable when you hit another vehicle.

  • The driver ahead of you reverses suddenly;
  • The driver suddenly stops to make a turn and fails to execute the turn;
  • The driver’s brake lights are faulty
  • A driver ahead of you gets a flat tire, but does not pull over and does not engage the vehicle’s hazard lights.

We see many instances in which drivers of cars, trucks or SUVs fail to see motorcyclists when making a turn. Even if the rider hits the vehicle rather than vice versa, the driver who started making the turn is usually negligent.

If you have been hurt in a car crash, please contact our Georgia car accident injury lawyers at (404) 913-1529.