Rear-end collisions are some of the most common car accidents in the State of Washington today. They can also result in serious injuries. When a driver fails to stop and hits the car in front of them, it is generally assumed they are at fault. Yet experienced car accident lawyers understand there might be other circumstances involved in these situations, that fault does not automatically lie with the driver who did not or could not stop in time. There is no automatic assumption of fault in rear-end accidents in Washington State. Although insurance companies may try to blame the driver who did not stop in time, personal injury lawyers must carefully investigate the accident to accurately determine fault.
Fault Determination in Washington State Car Accidents
Washington is a fault-based accident state. Car accident lawyers explain that this means there is no automatic assumption of fault based on the type of accident. There is also not an assumption that insurance companies will pay for their customers’ damage without determination of fault. All accidents, including rear-end accidents, are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine who is at fault according to what actually happened at the time of the accident. Insurance companies also cannot simply blame the driver who rear-ended the vehicle in front without an investigation that actually proves them to be at fault.
Even in cases where being hit from behind causes injuries to those in the car that was hit, personal injury lawyers and insurance companies must consider all aspects of the situation to fairly assign fault. Washington State puts liability on the driver that is most at fault for causing the accident as a whole, as opposed to blaming the driver that hits the other vehicle.
Determining Fault in Rear-End Accidents
Many rear-end collisions occur because of carelessness and negligence displayed by the rear-ending driver who did not stop their vehicle in time. Following too closely or being distracted while driving are common reasons why a driver could be found at fault for rear ending the car in front of them. Yet personal injury lawyers know that not every rear-end collision occurs in this manner.
Because vehicle response, weather, road conditions, other drivers on the road, and many other details can affect a driver’s ability to stop even when they are paying close attention, unexpected things can happen. Car accident lawyers must carefully review an accident and determine its actual cause and then decide whether the driver who rear-ended the other vehicle was solely negligent. Additionally, the multi-car collision rule may also apply with regard to rear-end collisions. This rule acknowledges situations where a driver is hit by a first vehicle that then causes them to collide with a second one. In these instances, where the second rear-ending driver did nothing wrong, liability may be lifted from them and put on the driver who caused the initial collision.
The most important factor in dealing with a rear end collision in the State of Washington is understanding that every accident is unique and drivers have the right to have their car accident lawyers investigate accidents to determine fault. Although many insurance companies pressure drivers into accepting fault or low settlements to avoid paying expensive claims, Washington State is fault-based, meaning the actual driver at fault should be liable. Drivers involved or injured in a rear-end collision should retain the counsel of experienced personal injury lawyers who can investigate the accident and challenge insurance companies to determine actual fault and award a fair claim settlement!
Maurer Law, PLLC
505 West Riverside, Suite 400
Spokane WA 99201