Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen and Who’s to Blame?

If you are driving and are hit from behind by another vehicle, you can be seriously injured. This type of automobile accident is known as a “rear-end” collision. 

In many cases, rear-end accidents occur with no chance for the driver in front to prevent the collision. Many different factors can lead to this type of motor vehicle crash.

Below, we will examine some of the most common causes of rear-end car accidents. We will also discuss how to determine legal liability following this type of crash.

Leading Causes of Rear-End Vehicle Collisions

The majority of rear-end car accidents happen when the leading car is stopping or slowing. When the motorist in the following vehicle does not stop in time, a crash occurs.

There are many types of negligent driving that can lead to rear-end collisions:


Tailgating happens when one driver follows another too closely. Failing to keep a safe distance from the cars ahead leaves drivers susceptible to crashing. 

Sometimes tailgating is the result of distraction. In other instances, a driver may be engaged in aggressive maneuvers. Aggressive tailgating drastically increases the possibility of a rear-end collision.


When motorists drive too fast, they are at an increased risk of rear-end collisions. Driving at high speed provides motorists with less time to react to those vehicles they are following. 

Speeding is a negligent and illegal driving practice.

Distracted Driving

With the ubiquity of digital devices, many people are driving while distracted. Some of the most common instances of distracted driving include:

  • Texting
  • Adjusting the stereo
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating
  • Watching videos on a digital device
  • And more

A distracted driver may not notice when the vehicle in front of them slows down or comes to a stop. In these instances, they may collide with the rear of another car at full speed.

This can result in catastrophic and long-lasting injuries for victims. In many cases, distracted drivers can be held financially responsible for the damages that they cause.

These are only a few examples of the factors that can contribute to rear-end collisions. Every traffic accident involves a distinct set of complex circumstances.

Determining Liability in Rear-End Accidents

Florida is a no-fault insurance state, meaning you’ll likely need to file a claim with your own insurance company after a car accident, regardless of fault. In Florida, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) car insurance, each with a minimum limit of $10,000. 

PIP covers 80% of your necessary and reasonable medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages, up to the $10,000 limit. If your damages from the accident exceed this amount, you may be entitled to sue the at-fault driver. However, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that the other driver was negligent to recover damages. Additionally, you must not have been completely at fault for the accident.

In most rear-end collisions, the driver who rear-ends the other is considered to be at fault. However, there can be exceptions to this rule. For instance, motorists in the following scenarios may not be liable if the leading driver:

  • Suddenly slams on their brakes without cause
  • Puts their vehicle in reverse in a lane of traffic
  • Is operating a vehicle without brake lights
  • Fails to use an appropriate turn signal

To pursue a successful legal claim following a rear-end accident, the plaintiff must prove the following elements of negligence:

  • The other driver owed them a duty to drive safely;
  • The other driver breached this duty;
  • The breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s damages; and
  • The accident resulted in harm to the plaintiff.

Generally, if the plaintiff can prove all elements of negligence, they will be entitled to economic and non-economic damages

Contact a Car Accident Attorney After a Rear-End Collision

Florida’s no-fault insurance laws can be complicated, and your policy may not cover the full extent of your damages. That is why it is critical for accident victims to consult with a skilled Fort Walton Beach car accident attorney after a rear-end collision.

A legal professional will review the facts of your accident case and help you to determine the best way to secure the compensation that you need.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Fort Walton Beach car accident lawyers at Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
(850) 863-5297

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
(850) 790-0243