We see quite a few cases where our client has rear-ended the vehicle in front of them. Money can be extracted from these cases if the damages are significant.
In most cases we need to acknowledge that the following driver’s negligence contributed to the accident with the lead driver. But the lead driver or other people can share responsibility. There are usually factors (e.g., a sudden stop by the lead driver) that indicate the lead driver was not paying adequate attention and was not driving in a safe manner.
Here’s what we wrote in a recent case where we recovered policy limits for our client who rear-ended someone:
We acknowledge the following car doctrine: a following driver is in the best position to avoid a collision with the vehicle he or she follows. But even though following driver has the primary duty of avoiding an accident, he is not guilty of negligence as a matter of law, simply because he collides with a vehicle in front of him.
The Washington State Supreme Court has explained:
[E]ach case must be judged to a very large extent upon the pattern of its own facts. In determining each individual case, the condition of the highway, the traffic, the acts of the parties and all of the surrounding circumstances must be taken into consideration.
In the end we recovered $100,000 for our client who rear-ended the vehicle in front of her.
What’s the take-away? It makes sense to pursue a case even if the injured person rear-ended someone.