Rear-End Collisions: What You Need To Know

Rear-End Collisions & Your Rights

Rear-end collisions are dangerous car wrecks. Depending on the situation, they hold the potential for devastating destruction. If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a rear-end collision in Houston, know that you have rights. Schedule a free case evaluation with our Houston car accident lawyers to learn whether you are entitled to financial compensation. 

Rear-end Accidents in Houston

One moment, you’re at a stoplight waiting for the light to change. Then, you notice another vehicle careening towards you in the rear-view mirror. Worse yet, perhaps a vehicle barrels into you out of nowhere. 

Even when you see it coming, you only have moments to react. For many drivers, there’s no opportunity to avoid a rear-end accident on the streets of Houston. These motor vehicle accidents are horrific. Moreover, they often result in severe, life-changing injuries. 

Oftentimes, such injuries have a significant impact on your life and your family. When someone’s negligence leads to your harm, you have the right to hold them accountable. As personal injury attorneys, our team helps injured Texans pursue the compensation they deserve. 

Get the justice you deserve and the compensation you need. Fight for your future with AP Law Group. 

Statistics for Rear-End Collisions

Generally speaking, rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car wrecks. Additionally, they are extremely dangerous. Often, these accidents occur with one vehicle stationary while the other travels at high speed. 

Due to the nature of these accidents, the victims rarely have time to take evasive action or even brace for the impact. 

According to a study by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end accidents account for roughly 29% of traffic accidents that result in serious injury. Moreover, statistics from the Insurance Information Institute show that over 7% of traffic-related deaths result from rear-end collisions. Among these, nearly 20% of them were two-vehicle accidents. 

As with many types of Houston car wrecks, a rear-end collision often results from negligence. Typically, the driver who rear-ends the other vehicle is responsible and liable. However, this is not always true. 

When liability and fault are in question, our auto accident attorneys are here to help. At your free case evaluation, we help you understand the fault in your accident. Even when you share some fault, you may have an opportunity to pursue compensation. Learn more at your free consultation. 

How to Determine Fault in Rear-End Collisions

As drivers, we owe each other a duty of care. Oftentimes, this simply means we operate our vehicles in a safe manner. We share responsibility for each other’s safety while out on the road. 

Still, the exact nature of a driver’s duty of care varies. Typically, it depends on weather and traffic conditions. However, the foundation of this principle is that we follow traffic laws and exercise sound judgment behind the wheel. 

When you think about rear-end accidents, you might assume that the driver in the back is always at fault. In most cases, this is true. For instance, consider these four common scenes. 

  1. A driver hits another car on the highway as it slows down to accommodate for upcoming traffic. 
  2. The driver fails to notice that a car in front has its turn signal on, colliding with it as it slows for a turn. 
  3. A driver decides to speed through a changing traffic signal without realizing the car ahead of them slowed to stop. 
  4. The driver assumes that the driver in front of them will start as soon as a light turns green, accelerating prematurely. 

In these situations, liability is clear. Likely, the driver in the rear is at fault. However, there are certain situations in which drivers share fault for a rear-end accident. 

Shared Fault in Rear-End Accidents

  • A driver in the lead suddenly hits their brakes with no apparent reason. For example, “brake checking” another driver. 
  • The driver in front shifts into reverse while in traffic. 
  • The leading driver does not have functional brake lights. 
  • A lead driver fails to signal as they slow down for a turn. 

In the above scenarios, fault becomes murky because the drivers share responsibility. Specifically, the driver in front behaved in a way that led to an accident. Oftentimes, this impacts personal injury claims. Still, even in these situations, you may be eligible for compensation. 

Modified Comparative Fault in Texas

In Texas, courts follow an idea we call Modified Comparative Fault. Under this principle, injured persons who share fault have an opportunity to pursue compensation after an accident. 

Typically, in car accident claims, the injured driver has to prove that the other driver is at-fault. When multiple parties are at fault, each entity is responsible for compensation based on the percentage of fault they share. 

When an injured person is at fault, the court reduces their compensation according to the percentage of fault. However, when an injured party carries 51% of fault or more, they are no longer eligible to pursue compensation. 

With this in mind, victims in a car accident who bear over half the blame are unable to seek compensation from the other driver. This law prevents plaintiffs in Texas who bear the majority of responsibility for their own injuries from collecting anything from other parties. As such, after rear-end collisions, injured drivers have to share less than half the fault in order to pursue compensation. 

Understandably, this concept confuses drivers at times. When you schedule a free case evaluation with our Houston auto accident attorneys, you have an opportunity to understand your legal options. Call us today to see whether you have the right to seek compensation. 

Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions

Across the United States, millions of people use motor vehicles as a means of transportation. When you include commercial trucks and vehicles in a sprawling city like Houston, the roads clog easily with commuters and drivers passing through. 

As a busy city, many drivers are in a rush. While it’s imperative for drivers to follow their duty of care, car accidents happen. Often, they occur in the blink of an eye. This means many drivers who take precautions don’t have time to protect themselves. 

When another driver’s negligence causes an accident, it often results in severe injuries and wrongful deaths

What Causes Most Rear-End Accidents?

While many people consider rear-end collisions less dangerous, they hold a dramatic potential for injury and death. In 2016 alone, rear-end collisions caused 2,350 fatalities. While they seem avoidable, statistics indicate otherwise. 

There are numerous bad habits and environmental factors that play a role in these accidents. Here are just a few.

Distracted Driving

Anything that draws a driver’s focus away from the road has the potential to cause an accident. When we don’t have our eyes on the road, we can’t stop in time. The most common distractions include phones, radios, food, and drink. 

Driver Error 

In certain cases, drivers simply make mistakes that lead to a collision with another vehicle from behind. For instance, the sight of another accident on the road causes a driver to panic. As such, they lose control of their own vehicle. 

Alternatively, perhaps a driver’s foot slips and hits the gas pedal instead of the brakes. While these are honest errors, they lead to dangerous situations. 

Manufacturer Defects 

One of the most common car maintenance issues that result in rear-end accidents is a problem with the vehicle’s brakes. Faulty brake systems make it impossible for a driver to slow down or stop. 

Not Following Traffic Laws

Speeding is a common issue connected to rear-end collisions. When a motorist travels above the speed limit, they can’t stop in time to avoid hitting another vehicle. 

Poor Weather Conditions

When there’s a considerable amount of rainfall or ice on the pavement, these conditions hinder a driver’s ability to see, focus, react, and stop. Often, motorists lose control of sliding vehicles or simply cannot see another vehicle ahead of them. 


When one driver follows another too closely, it decreases their reaction time. This means they have less opportunity to avoid collisions should the leading vehicle suddenly slow or stop. 

Rear-End Collisions FAQ

What should I look for after a rear-end collision?

After a rear-end accident, seek prompt medical care and a place to repair your vehicle. These are essential services for your health. Moreover, they provide crucial documentation of the accident. This documentation is evidence in a personal injury claim after you sustain an injury in an accident. 

Evidence of injuries and property damage are essential when you hope to pursue compensation from the other driver and their insurance company. 

When you sustain an injury in a rear-end collision, you may be entitled to damages from the at-fault driver. Damages vary with the particulars of your claim. Often, they include medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. 

When you have a Houston motor vehicle accident attorney on your side, you have an advocate to help you fight for your future.  

What are common injuries after rear-end collisions?

What are common injuries after rear-end collisions?

Even when rear-end collisions occur at low speeds, they have the potential to cause injuries. The most common injuries in rear-end car accidents are minor, such as bruises and scrapes. However, they hold life-changing potential for major injuries like spinal cord injuries and broken bones. 

Additionally, many drivers have to worry about whiplash that leads to lasting health issues. As with any other form of car accident, rear-end collisions result in many different injuries.

  • Lacerations and bruises
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Back injuries
  • Burn injuries in the event of fires
  • Facial injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Spinal cord injuries

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