Are Drivers Rear-Ended in Auto Accidents Always Free From Fault?

It’s a popular myth that the driver who hits the other driver is always solely at fault. In most cases, drivers who rear-end other drivers have indeed been driving dangerously, which means they typically are ticketed. The fact that the other driver was ticketed, though, doesn’t relieve you from responsibility, and drivers who are rear-ended may also receive tickets if they have violated the law.


Auto Accidents and Following Too Closely

Drivers who rear-end other drivers almost always do so because they’re following too closely. Consequently, if you’re rear-ended, it’s very likely that the other driver will get a ticket for following too closely. This doesn’t alleviate you from fault, though. Fault in car accidents can be shared, and if you both broke the law, you’ll both get a ticket.

Additionally, there may be some situations in which you are solely at fault. For example, if you slammed on your brakes to irritate or harass the other driver, you could be ticketed for aggressive driving. Simply put, whether the other driver gets a ticket depends on his or her behavior immediately preceding the accident. Whether you get a ticket depends on your behavior.

When the Rear-Ended Driver is at Fault

If you’re at fault for the accident, you could wind up paying for both your damages and the other driver’s damages. While it’s rare for the rear-ended driver to be at fault, it is possible. It’s more common, however, for both drivers to be ticketed. Behaviors immediately before a rear-ending that can earn you a ticket include:

  • Texting and driving
  • Failure to signal a lane change
  • Aggressive driving, such as pulling in front of the other driver and then slamming on your brakes
  • Driving too slowly or too quickly for conditions
  • Driving in a way inappropriate for conditions. For example, changing lanes quickly in the midst of a snow or ice storm could yield a ticket.


If you or the other driver incur serious injuries as a result of rear-ending, determining who is at fault can make a big difference in your insurance premiums as well as your financial bottom line. It can make good financial sense to fight a traffic ticket, and if you both were ticketed, this can make your auto accident claim confusing and lead to prolonged legal battles.

If you think you’re not at fault, talk to a lawyer. Your attorney may use defenses you don’t even know about, and can use the law to argue both that you weren’t at fault and that the other driver’s insurance should pay to cover your injuries.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact one of the experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm today to request a FREE consultation.

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