Determining fault after a rear-end collision

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The results of a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that rear-end collisions are the most common type of automobile accident in Mississippi and around the country, accounting for almost a third of all crashes. NHTSA researchers also discovered that most of these accidents involve a vehicle traveling at speed striking the rear of a stationary or slow-moving car.

Assigning blame

Drivers are expected to maintain distances large enough to allow them to come to a full stop safely, but this is not always possible on busy roads where any kind of significant gap is quickly filled by a motorist trying to save time and make progress. In situations like this, the driver struck in a rear-end collision may be considered partly responsible if they applied their brakes sharply for no good reason, failed to signal as they slowed down to make a turn or were operating a vehicle with defective brake lights.

Comparative negligence

Mississippi follows the comparative negligence doctrine. This legal standard allows road users who are injured in motor vehicle accidents in the Magnolia State to file lawsuits and recover damages even if they share some of the blame. However, the damages they are awarded will be reduced to reflect their degree of fault. In states that adhere to the stricter contributory negligence standard, accident victims are unable to recover damages if they were negligent in any way.

Whiplash injuries

Experienced personal injury attorneys may advise individuals who have been involved in rear-end collisions to seek medical treatment even if they feel fine. This is because this kind of accident often causes whiplash neck injuries. Whiplash is painful, and recovering can take weeks or even months, but injured victims do not always present symptoms right away. Refusing treatment at an accident scene could also make it more difficult to convince a jury about the seriousness of an injury.

Rear-end collisions are usually caused by distraction, inattention, or excessive speed, but there are situations where the driver of the vehicle struck in the rear may also be at least partially to blame. Individuals injured in such a collision may want to seek compensation to cover their injuries.