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Driving into the Back of Someone – is it Always Your Fault?

By Practice Group Leader, Road Traffic Defence

99 times out of 100 if you drive into the back of someone on the road it is your fault. But sometimes it seems unfair to be blamed for something that was unavoidable.

For example, you are driving at the speed limit, leaving a good space between you and the car in front, when another car cuts in front of you and slams on their brakes. In this instance you don’t have enough space between you and the car in front for an adequate stopping distance and you go into the back of them. Is this your fault?

It depends on the facts. There are many factors that come in to play when defending a rear end collision. Could you have predicted this movement? Could you have reacted more quickly to the movements of the other driver? In the event an accident occurred and a prosecution is being considered a driving offence, a driving defence lawyer would go over the minute details to see if your accident was avoidable.

One of the ways you can help yourself is by installing a dashboard camera. Cameras have seen a boost in sales as insurance companies often ask for unequivocal proof of blame before paying out. Many lorries already have on-board cameras but it is becoming more and more common for domestic drivers to have them installed, just in case of an accident. For more information, see our previous blog on how dashboard camera can help road safety here.

Another type of rear end accident is where a driver in front of you purposefully brakes hard, forcing you to crash into the back of them. The driver will accept that the crash was their fault and give you their details, but a few weeks later you will receive a letter stating that the accident caused substantial damage to the vehicle, amongst other wildly exaggerated claims.

There are a few things you could do if this happens, though at the time you may be too shaken up to remember them. Don’t admit liability or responsibility for the accident. Try and stay calm and remember as many details as you can and if the police want to interview you, always have a solicitor present.

Some fraudsters will try and claim for passengers that weren’t actually in the vehicle so if you can try and take some photos with your phone it will help when you dispute the claim against you. Also take pictures of any damage and the general scene.

Above all, don’t panic. If you receive something in the post with exaggerated claims after an accident, get in touch with a professional driving defence solicitor who can help you prove that the accident was staged and wasn’t your fault.

If you have been in a rear end collision that you believe wasn’t your fault Slater and Gordon have an experienced team of lawyers on hand to help. For a free consultation call us on freephone 0808 175 7998 or contact us online and we will call you.

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