When a rear-end collision occurs, the person driving in back is often blamed for the accident. This is because drivers have a duty to remain a certain distance behind the vehicles in front of them (at least 2 seconds worth of distance). However, here are two instances where a front driver actually be to blame for the incident.
Malfunctioning Vehicle Equipment
People who own vehicles have a legal obligation to ensure their cars and trucks are always safe to operate on the public roads. If a vehicle malfunction significantly increases your risk of being in or causing an accident, you can be held liable for the incident.
For instance, if your brake lights aren't working correctly because of blown bulbs or an electrical problem in the vehicle's system, you could be held responsible for a collision if someone runs into you. This is because the brake lights warn the drivers behind you that you're about to come to a halt. With no warning, the person following you may not realize you are stopping until it's too late form them to react safely.
Depending on the circumstances, the entire blame could be placed on you. At minimum, you may be held partially liable for the incident, which may still result in you being ordered to pay some money to the other driver.
Another reason a front driver may be held liable for an accident is if the person was driving recklessly or not obeying traffic laws. Drivers pick up all sorts of bad habits while on the road, and sometimes those habits can get them into trouble. For instance, if you change lanes without putting on your signal light and the person in that lane hits you, you may be found liable for accident. You will also typically get a traffic ticket to add insult to injury.
The only benefit you may have going for you in this type of situation is that it can be challenging to prove your reckless driving was the cause of the accident. Even though you weren't using your signal lights, it may have been obvious in other ways that you were attempting to change lanes, for instance, signs an observant driver would've noticed. Thus, the driver in back may still be held fully responsible if he or she failed to notice the relevant cues.
In any type of car accident, it's best to retain an attorney who can help you put together a good defense to an accusation of causing an accident. For more information about this issue or help litigating a case, contact a car accident attorney.