Updated Sept. 19, 2023
We have been representing people injured in car accidents since 1922 and have seen many rear-end car crashes – too many to count! And here in Passaic County (and the surrounding Essex County and Hudson County), there are no shortages of car accidents. Clients routinely ask if the driver who rear-ended them is always at fault. Usually, that is correct, but below we will go into some more detail about some not-so-clear situations.
New Jersey Rear-End Crashes – Who Is At Fault?
In New Jersey, negligence is never presumed. The plaintiff (the person filing the claim or lawsuit) has the burden of showing that the defendant was negligent in the operation of their vehicle. Regarding rear-end hits, plaintiffs generally argue that the defendant failed to maintain a safe following distance. New Jersey law requires that all drivers maintain a safe following distance so that if the car in front slows or stops, the next car will have an opportunity to slow and/or stop as well. For this reason, when the car in front is properly stopped or traveling with the flow of traffic and they get hit in the rear, the driver that hit them is almost always going to be 100% at fault for the crash.
How the Insurance Companies Argue That They Do Not Have to Pay
Very often, when a driver hits someone they try to make all sorts of excuses as to why it was not their fault. Frequently, insurance companies will take these excuses and deny that they have any obligation to pay for the damages. They sometimes argue at the plaintiff abruptly slammed on the breaks and stopped their car for no reason. If a driver does in fact stop their car in the middle of the road for no reason at all, and someone rear-ends them, then the driver of the first car may be partially or completely to blame. However, what happens in most cases is that the plaintiff stopped or slowed for traffic – in that type of case the defendant is generally 100% at fault. But in the very few situations when there was a sudden, unexpected emergency that caused the plaintiff to abruptly stop (like a tree falling), then the person in the rear may not be responsible at all. Insurance companies also argue at times that the roads were icy and the ice on the roads was to blame. However, drivers are supposed to make sure that they are driving properly during bad weather. Only if they are driving completely properly for the weather will the person in the rear not be at fault for a rear-end hit.
New Jersey Car Crashes – Free Consultation With Skilled Attorney
If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, please call us for a 100% free consultation with a skilled attorney. We have handled claims like these for decades and we are very experienced in protecting the rights of people injured in car accidents.Based in Paterson, New Jersey, Raff & Raff, LLP services clients in the communities of Bloomingdale, Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, Passaic, Paterson, Pompton Lakes, Prospect Park, Ringwood, Totowa, Wanaque, Wayne, West Milford, Woodland Park, Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Emerson, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glenn Rock, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Maywood, Midland Park, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, North Arlington, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgewood, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Saddle River, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Waldwick, Wallington, Westwood, Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, Wyckoff, Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Orange, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Montclair, Newark, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roseland, Verona, Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, West New York, Guttenberg, Secaucus, Kearney, Harrison, North Bergen, Weehawken, Elizabeth, Linden, Plainsfield, Rahway, Union, Scotch Plains, Clark, Cranford, Hillside, Westfield, Roselle, and surrounding areas.