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How is fault determined in a rear-end collision?

Some states, including Oklahoma, have at-fault laws in place. This means that in the event of a car crash, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the resulting economic and non-economic damages like medical expenses, property damage and lost wages.

One of the most common types of car crashes you can find yourself in is a rear-end collision. Determining who is at fault in a rear-end collision can be difficult as many factors can contribute to the accident. So, how exactly is fault determined in these types of accidents:

Understanding how rear-end collisions happen

Every driver is required by law to keep a safe distance from the car in front. A safe distance is determined by several factors such as road conditions and vehicle speeds. That said, every road user has a duty of care to the public.

Based on the circumstances of the accident, either driver can be found to be at fault in a rear-end collision. For instance, the lead car can be at fault if they brake check or operate a vehicle with mechanical faults such as faulty hazard lights.

The rear motorist, on the other hand, can be at fault when they tailgate, get distracted or when their vehicle has faulty brakes.

It all boils down to negligence

The motorist whose conduct or behavior falls below the reasonable standard of care would be deemed liable for the accident. Since both parties can be liable, the fault is split based on each party’s contribution to the rear-end collision in question per Oklahoma’s modified comparative negligence laws. Per this statute, you must hold the other party 51% or more responsible for the accident to claim damages. If you contributed 51% or more to the rear-end collision, you would get nothing.

A car accident can leave you with severe injuries and property damage. If you are involved in a rear-end collision that is largely someone else’s fault, the law permits you to sue them for damages within two years from the date of the crash.


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