How Is Rear End Collision Fault Determined in New Hampshire?

Date:January 17, 2019

Rear end collisions can result in severe injuries, and the damages can be devastating. Your vehicle might be ruined, especially if you’re pinned between the car that hit you and a car in front of you in a “ripple” accident. The damage can even propagate to other vehicles ahead of them in heavy traffic. But how is rear end collision fault determined?

Manchester NH Rear End Collision Lawyer

Is the Guy in Back Always to Blame?

In some states, investigators always assign rear end collision fault to the person who hit the other driver. New Hampshire is not one of those states. Admittedly, rear end collisions do often result from the following driver not being alert, but that’s not always the case — and New Hampshire law recognizes that reality.

Rear end accidents can also be caused by the leading driver pulling out unexpectedly into traffic, braking suddenly, changing lanes without using signals, driving without taillights at night, or by road conditions that combine to cause the leading driver to lose traction on a slick road, while the following driver skids into them.

Can You Recover Damages in a Rear End Collision?

Whether you were the person who did the rear ending or the person struck, you may be able to get compensation for your damages in a rear end collision. The accident investigators will apportion the blame for the accident between the drivers. If you’re 51% or less to blame, you can make a claim for damages against the other person’s insurance.

If you were rear ended, it’s easier to make a case. You do have to produce evidence that you were exercising due care when the accident occurred, while the other person was not. The court will ask for documentation to prove the other driver’s liability, including:

  • a police report,
  • notes and photos from the scene,
  • photos of the auto damage,
  • witness statements,
  • medical bills, and the like.

If you rear ended someone else, you may be able to prove that one of the circumstances mentioned in the previous section caused you to strike the other vehicle. However, the real determinant will be what the accident scene investigators decided. If they assign more than 51% of the blame to you, you won’t have a case.

What Happens If You Decide to Make a Claim Against the Other Driver?

If you decide to sue for damages, we strongly recommend that you hire an experienced Manchester NH injury lawyer to represent you in court. As part of their due diligence, they’ll advise you on the types of damages to consider while making your case.

You can expect vehicle damage from a rear end collision, and it may be significant. This is the most obvious type of damage to consider, along with any injuries. Don’t forget to take photos of both your auto damage or personal injuries to you or your passengers for use in court.

When you make the claim, remember also to take lost wages into account, and any potential long-term harm. If you end up with a hurt neck or back, it may result in years of pain. Include those potential costs in your medical expenses, as a step toward making you legally whole. This is especially true if the injury will likely impact your ability to earn future income.

You can also request compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and even punitive damages, though the latter are rarely awarded. Needless to say, you’ll need the documentation to back up any and all claims.

To Learn More About How to Determine Rear End Collision Fault

At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we pride ourselves on our experience, client service, and professionalism. If you have questions about a rear end collision fault, contact us for a free consultation at (603) 624-7200.

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