Is the rear driver always at fault for a rear-end collision? Or can the lead driver also be at fault? In this video, California accident attorney Neil Shouse explains.

While the rear driver is usually found to be at fault, this is not always the case. The lead driver can be at fault in 3 common situations: (1) when the lead driver unsafely pulls into the lane, (2) when the lead driver changes lanes unsafely, cutting off the rear driver, and (3) when the lead driver brakes suddenly and abruptly for no apparent reason.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. What if you had to reverse because it was unsafe to merge into the busy intersection and whilst reversing you got rear ended by a vehicle? That pulled up from behind you and seemed to be trying to cut you off based on the placement of the incident ? ( front car right side back bumper , back car front side left bumper ) what do you do then ?

  2. Glad I came across this video. Example 1 just happened to me 2 weeks ago. I was driving on a 4 lane, divided highway. I was in the left lane. A car coming in the opposite direction whips a U-turn directly in front of me. I brake and swerve to the left and clip the back left of her car. Allstate just got back with me and said I was 100% at fault (her only reasoning was that I had hit the back of her car). It's absolute crap since she literally turned right in front of my car without yielding. I had no room to go anywhere else. Not to mention the other driver doesn't have a driver's license, left the scene of the accident (which apparently is not against the law because we exchanged information), and the police department refused to do an accident report because my car was "operable." Absolutely ridiculous that my premiums are going to go up and have to pay a $750 deductible because an unlicensed driver made an illegal u-turn in front of me.

    I'm speaking with a "supervisor" at Allstate, but judging by how they treat their customers I doubt I'll get much help.

  3. What happened when the lead driver decided to stop in the middle of a road then the lead driver stops outta nowhere saying there is a stop sign here when there isn’t I was going 80 and hit breaks right away but wasn’t stopping so I tried to go around him and hit his tire

  4. I was at a red light coming off of the highway and the car in front of the car I hit turned right (there was no oncoming traffic). So then the car in front of me did a complete stop and eased forward. I turned my head to the left to look for oncoming traffic and there was legit no oncoming traffic at all. I eased forward thinking the driver had already turned and I bumped her. Obviously that is probably my fault but I cannot help but think that she braked last minute. I wish I had a dash cam. (And yes I know that my bumping into her is my fault regardless).

  5. I don't agree with the third situation UNLESS it's a "swoop and squat" insurance or road rage situation where the rear driver has no way of avoiding it. If it's someone who has is already established in your lane driving in front of you and slams on the brakes, if you hit them, then it's YOUR fault for following too closely and/or not paying attention in order to stop in time. Whether they have a reason to slam on the brakes is irrelevant.

  6. My wife was driving a guy on a motorcycle rear ends her out of nowhere speeding with his bike cutting traffic now wants to sue for medical bills you have to be kidding me the odasity of some people.

  7. What if you were the last vehicle of a multi car chain collision? Also, is there free or low cost legal aid for car accidents? I'm in San Bernardino County, California.

    I was the end of a 3 vehicle chain collision on the freeway. This happen in the afternoon when commute traffic was building up, but traffic flow was still smooth. I was not distracted or speeding and had proper space between vehicles. The vehicle in front my Suzuki Forenza was a Toyota Corolla and a vehicle in front it was a Honda Civic. I saw that the Honda Civic had one its signals on, but something caused the Toyota Corolla to rear end it. When I realized they crashed, I eased off the accelerator pedal and tried to brake gently, but I wasn't able to avoid rear ending the Toyota and I couldn't move to the other lane to avoid it. We moved our vehicles to the shoulders and the Freeway Service Patrol came to check on us and called the California Highway Patrol. While we waited for the CHP, the Toyota driver asked for my information, although the Toyota driver and Honda didn't gave me theirs at that moment. The CHP motorcycle officer came and told us to exit carefully to a safe place. He took our report. The next day I went to the CHP office to request their insurance information.

    I want to claim against their insurance. My mother was the only witness with me. The front bumper is damaged. I also want to held them responsible if something happens to my mother as she suffers from high blood pressure and had a stroke back in 2015.

    I am a safe driver and I have an official DMV record from a few months ago to prove it. I requested the DMV document and a letter from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Office because I was the victim of mistaken identity a few months ago.

  8. The Car in front of me hit a sudden brake upon hearing Police siren. I braked too but touched the other vehicle just enough that my bumper plate screw left mark on their car. I am screwed now. My insurance will go high, I’ll lose my job… basically if you hite someone from behind your f..ked. This just happened today Jan 8, 2020. If anyone can help let me know.

  9. Hi,i own a dash cam compilation channel and i am trying to inform as much as possible my viewers for the laws around road accidents in general .So is it ok with you to use parts of this video or maybe all to a few compilations of mine?Will really appreciate a response,thanks.

  10. What about a person who rear ended me accidentally just because the other traffic stop on the freeway on 237 going towards 101 and I have stop too. It’s at night and I felt a tump and then my vehicle row off the side of road. Where I could not control vehicle once I felt a slam from rear ended collision. I feel bad that I have no vehicle to work and school. I had a state of shock and I had bruises on body and right leg. The guy scared me and I mean when people on the freeway 🛣 It doesn’t mean a person can not always drive however wanted and it is important to have awareness on the road. The flow of traffic can reasons to slow down and stop when you see in front brake lights on.

  11. Situation 2 happened to me in 2015. A guy cut across 3 lanes, ended up directly in front of me I let up on the gas to increase the gap but I didn't know the guy who had just cut me off had jammed the brakes, his brake lights never came on. I tried to stop, couldn't stop… there was no where to go but into the back of his car. It has cost me thousands of dollars. The damage to my truck alone was over 2k, the idiot who cut me off his car was totalled insurance paid them around 7k for the car, and who knows how much for the "oh, my neck, oh my back" BS they pulled… My premium more than doubled! No witnesses stopped, everyone is just to busy to care these days. I wish I had a dash camera when that happened, I can't go back and fix that, but I do have a dash camera now so it will never happen to me again. Even the police officer was suspicious, so I didn't get cited for anything! But without a witness to back up my side of what happened, insurance had to rule I was at fault, BS!!!

  12. what sucks though is when the driver who rear ended you lies and claims you stopped for no reason when actually there was an emergency in front of you. Happened to me and he was believed over me, probably because my learning disability/communication disorder makes me sound less credible.

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