Does the universal language of accidents still stands whereby if a person crashes into the back of anothers car, they should be at fault?

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Does the universal language of accidents still stands whereby if a person crashes into the back of anothers car, they should be at fault?

I came to a T junction with a sign stating “inbound traffic does not stop”, “keep moving”. As I turned right into the left lane(there were 2 lanes to turn into) and drove a few yards up, I looked into my rear view to see a car coming towards me. I realiszed that the car was too close so I drove as close as possible to the van in front of me. However it was too late, the car behind couldn’t brake quick enough and tried to swerve into the right lane and crashed into the passenger side of my car. Police cited me at fault. Am I?

Asked on May 18, 2012 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

"The universal language of accidents" to which you refer is no more than a presumption (think: a strong assumption) that the rear car in a "rear-end" collision (i.e. one car hit from behind by a second car moving in the same direction) was at fault, such as by following too closely for conditions. It can be overcome if there is evidence that in this specific case, the lead car was instead negligent, or careless. From what you write, this may have been a case where you were under an obligation or duty to not turn onto the road unless you had checked traffic in both directions and saw that you would have more than adequate clearance, given that "inbound traffic does not stop." Therefore, it may well be that you were in fact at fault, and clearly the police believe you were.


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