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What is the Law on Rear End Accidents?

Rear end car accidents are a fairly common type of accident where one car hits another’s rear bumper, resulting primarily in cosmetic damage to both vehicles. In some cases, though, the damage is much further-reaching, resulting in substantial damage to one or both vehicles and injuries to drivers and passengers.

In most cases, the driver whose car does the colliding is deemed to be responsible for the accident. This is because it is nearly always this driver’s negligence, such as text messaging while driving or failing to observe posted traffic signs and the conditions around him or her, that causes the rear end accident. To be absolved of this liability, the driver must prove that he or she could not have prevented the collision. For example, if he or she can prove that he or she was pushed by another car or experienced a brake failure.

Rear end collisions are handled a bit differently in no-fault states, where injured drivers seek compensation from their own insurance policies rather than the at-fault parties’ policies. But Tennessee is not a no-fault state, which means that when you are involved in a rear end accident here, the driver whose car rear-ended the other is almost always liable for the victim’s damages.

What if I Am Not the Only Party at Fault in a Rear End Accident?

It is possible that more than one party can be found to be at fault in a car accident. You might rear end another vehicle after being rear ended yourself or swerving out of the way to avoid a pedestrian, an animal, a wayward motorist, or a hazard on the roadway like an open manhole. In this type of case, you could be found to be partially at fault for the damage to the claimant’s vehicle. You might even file a claim of your own to recover your personal damages.

In Tennessee, the amount of fault for an auto accident that can be assigned to you has a tremendous effect on how much compensation you and other involved parties can recover. For example, if the other drive in your rear end collision seeks $60,000 in compensation but is found to be 25 percent responsible for the accident because of his or her own errors or negligence, he or she may only recover up to $45,000 in compensation. This effectively reduces your liability by 25 percent if you are the only other party involved in the collision.

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