Is the Rear Driver Always Liable for a Rear-End Collision?

liability for a rear-end collision When one vehicle strikes another from behind, the rear driver is almost always found legally liable under Ontario law. This is based on the premise that had the driver of the rear vehicle been driving in a safe manner, he or she would have had enough time to stop and prevent harm. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to know who to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against.

Below, our lawyers discuss how liability is determined for rear-end accidents in Ontario. We welcome the opportunity to review your situation and evaluate your legal options in a free initial consultation.

Why Rear-End Accidents Often Happen

Most-rear accidents are avoidable and often happen due to driver negligence, such as:

  • Driving too closely or tailgating
  • Speeding or driving recklessly
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving in poor road or weather conditions
  • Changing lanes carelessly
  • Driving while drowsy or tired
  • Driving while intoxicated

It is important for drivers to leave proper following distance between themselves and the vehicles in front of them in order to prevent a rear-end accident.

Determining Fault in Rear-End Collisions in Ontario

Ontario law is pretty straightforward when it comes to rear-end collisions. Generally, the driver who rear ends the vehicle in front is most likely at fault for causing the accident and is responsible for any resulting damages. Beaumont v Ruddy, [1932], and Ruetz v Goetz, [1955] are commonly cited cases.

If you are considering taking legal action for your injury, the courts may more than likely rule in your favor. The burden of proof in these cases lies with the defendant (the rear driver), not the plaintiff (the injured victim).  

The rear driver must be able to prove that he or she was not negligent and did not cause the rear-end collision. This means proving that he or she kept a reasonable distance behind the vehicle ahead, kept control of his or her vehicle, and was traveling at a speed that was reasonably relative to the speed of the other driver. The rear driver must anticipate that, for whatever reason, the vehicle ahead may stop.

Unless sufficient evidence exists that the driver of the front vehicle or another third party committed an act of negligence that is unusual and unexpected, the rear driver would be found liable for not proceeding with care to avoid a collision.

For instance, the rear driver must prove that the vehicle ahead came to an inappropriate or abrupt stop that no reasonable driver under similar circumstances could have predicted or been prepared for.

Compensation for a Rear-End Accident Injury

Rear-end accidents can cause serious, debilitating injuries to the neck, head and spine. If you were injured when someone rear-ended your vehicle, the compensation you may be able to receive could help with paying out-of-pocket costs and aid in your recovery. This may include:

  • Medical expenses for hospital stays, doctor visits, surgery, medications, etc.
  • Lost wages and future loss of wages from being unable to work, if at all  
  • Physical pain and mental suffering experienced during and since the accident
  • Housekeeping, home maintenance or caregiver costs

Our Windsor car accident lawyers know how to gather the evidence needed to build a strong case for maximum compensation on your behalf. There is no risk in calling us to learn more about your rights.

Call Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

Our legal team has the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you need after a rear-end collision. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide an honest assessment of your legal options.

Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. You are not obligated to retain our services after meeting with us. Should we represent you, we charge nothing up front unless you obtain compensation.

Greg Monforton & Partners. Millions Recovered. Ph: (866) 320-4770.