Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Arizona?


With over 2.4 million registered cars in the state of Arizona and an average of well over 120,000 accidents occurring each year, it is important for you to be prepared for an accident and to have good insurance. If you are prepared and insured it will greatly reduce your stress and allow for a quick return to life before the accident.

Each accident is different and therefore the damage that occurs ranges from a minor fender-bender where the only damage sustained is a scratch as thick as a strand of hair on a bumper up to the totaling of a car and serious injuries to the passengers. In all accidents, there is an at fault driver and a driver who is the victim and the at fault driver is the one who will be ticketed for the accident as well as they are the one responsible for paying for the damages caused in the accident.

Fault for Car Accidents in Arizona

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents in Arizona. Some of the reasons for these crashes are the heavy traffic we have in the valley as well as an increase of distracted driving due to cell phone usage in cars.

In most rear-end collisions, the driver who caused the accident is held liable for the damages. This means that in the case of rear-end collisions, usually the driver who rear-ends the car in front of them is the at-fault driver. The lead driver who is hit, is usually stopped at a stop sign or red light which means they were driving safely and following all of the rules which means they did nothing to cause the accident.

Typically, when another driver hits your vehicle from behind, they are the at-fault driver. However, there are instances when this is not the case and police officers and judges will look at other factors such as negligence and the events leading up to the accident to determine who the at-fault driver is.

Car Accidents and Negligence

Negligence is a term that describes someone’s actions that fall below an established standard by the courts and when a driver causes an accident it is due to their negligence. Drivers who are in accidents and whose actions are deemed negligent by the police are the at-fault driver in an accident and may be held liable for the damages and injuries they caused to others.

Your actions are considered to be negligent when they fall short of what a reasonable person may have done according to the circumstances. Here are examples of common actions by drivers that are considered to be negligent:

  • Failure to pay attention to the road and to look for hazards that appear on the road
  • Failing to stop within a reasonable time
  • Failure to drive at a reasonable speed, for instance if it is raining or snowing the posted speed limit is no longer the appropriate speed at which drivers should be driving
  • Failure to maintain control of the vehicle
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Failure to leave adequate space between surrounding cars

Example: If a driver is not paying attention to the road and is instead looking at their phone texting and then were to hit another car, the driver who was texting was negligent in their duty to pay attention to the road and they would be at fault and liable for the accident.

Who is the At-Fault Driver in a Rear-End Collision in Arizona?

The driver of the car that rear-ends a vehicle in front of them will almost always be the one determined to be at-fault. Each and every driver has a duty to follow other vehicles at a safe distance which would allow for them to slow down in time to avoid an accident. When a driver fails to do this, regardless of the car in front of them suddenly coming to a complete stop or slowing down, it is the driver behind the lead car who will be at-fault for the accident.

Drivers are expected to pay attention to the road and not follow other cars too closely, if a driver fails to do this and causes an accident, the accident is their fault and they are liable for the damages they cause.

When is the Car in Front of a Rear-End Collision at Fault?

It is very rare for the car in front to be the one to cause an accident and be at-fault, however it can happen. Here are several scenarios of when the driver of the car in front is at fault for a rear-end collision:

  • The driver reverses into the car behind them
  • The driver stops suddenly to make a turn and fails to turn
  • The driver’s brake lights are not functioning and this causes the car behind them to hit them
  • A driver who has car problems such as a flat tire or broken radiator and who remain in a lane of traffic or have pulled over and do not turn on their vehicle’s hazard lights

In each of the examples above, the driver of the car that caused the accident acted negligibly and because of that they are the at-fault driver.

Arizona’s Veteran Car Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a rear-end collision in Arizona, you are entitled to sue for financial compensation to cover the damages to your car as well as medical costs. Working with the other driver’s insurance will not be easy, but you do not have to deal with them on your own. The veteran car accident lawyers at JacksonWhite Law have years of experience representing car accident victims and are here to help you.

Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

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