Posted On: August 16, 2009 by Shorstein & Lasnetski

Is a Rear End Accident Always the Fault of the Back Vehicle?

I read an article last week about a motorcycle that crashed into the back of a semi truck in the early morning hours, and the motorcycle driver was killed. The traffic homicide detective found that the motorcycle driver was speeding and the semi truck driver was driving properly. As a result, fault was placed on the motorcycle driver, and the semi truck driver was absolved of any negligence.

In most rear end accidents where one vehicle crashes into the back of another, either while driving or while stopped at a light, stop sign or in traffic, the back vehicle that crashes into the front vehicle is at fault. However, in some cases, fault for the accident is not always that clear. For instance, if the front driver slams on his/her brakes for no apparent reason and is hit from behind, that front driver may share some of the blame for the accident.

Semi trucks present a different problem. At night, they can be very difficult to see. As a result, semi trucks should have various lights and reflectors on the semi and the trailer. If a semi truck stops for traffic, a stop sign or a light, it must be well lit to alert other drivers of its location. If a semi truck stops because it is broken down or for other reasons, the semi truck driver must make sure other drivers have plenty of advanced notice so they can stop or drive around the semi truck. This includes lights, reflectors and flares or orange cones to make sure it does not create a hazard. If a driver crashes into the back of a semi truck at night because the semi truck is in a hazardous position and not properly marked, the accident and subsequent injuries may be partially or completely the fault of the semi truck driver.