Who Is At-Fault When a Tail Light Is Out

Who Is At-Fault When a Tail Light Is Out?

Car accident victims that are left with injuries are often left with enormous medical expenses, on top of their pain and suffering. Car accident attorney Beverly R. Caruthers understands how difficult these situations can be. Not only are you dealing with you car accident injuries and trying to find proper medical care, you also have to navigate the process of filing a car accident claim and proving fault.

Our law office will evaluate your case with zero obligation or cost to you, regardless of what kind of auto accident you have been through. This includes truck accidents, and all other motor vehicle collisions. We help you file a claim and will communicate with insurance adjusters on your behalf to ensure you are protecting yourself against their predatory tactics. If you have been involved in a car accident in Houston, call us today for your free case evaluation.

Establishing Fault for Rear-End Accidents

Every driver on the road has a duty to follow other vehicles at a safe distance that varies depending on vehicle speed, road conditions, and a whole host of other factors. Drivers who breach (violate) this duty are negligent. That’s why, in a rear-end accident, the trailing driver who rear-ends the lead vehicle will almost always be found at least partially negligent (at fault for the accident).

But it’s possible for the driver of the car that gets rear-ended to be negligent too, including when:

  • the lead driver suddenly goes into reverse
  • the lead car’s brake lights don’t work properly
  • the lead driver suddenly hits the brakes for no valid reason (“brake checks”) the trailing driver, or
  • the lead car has a mechanical problem, but the lead driver doesn’t move it fully to the side of the road.

So, what happens when trailing and lead drivers share fault for an accident? The rules vary from state to state based on contributory and comparative negligence laws.

Car Accidents and the Concept of Negligence

Negligence is the term used to describe behavior that hurts others and falls below a basic standard of care. Basically, you are negligent if you don’t act in a reasonable way, and someone is injured as a result. What constitutes reasonable behavior depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

To prove that a car accident was caused by driver negligence, you must first show that the driver had a duty of care. This is pretty simple because all drivers owe a duty to other people on the road to not do something that might cause an accident.

Second, you must show that the other driver breached this duty. Drivers in rear-end collisions can breach their duty of reasonable care in a number of ways, including failing to:

  • pay attention to the road and look out for hazards
  • stop within a reasonable time
  • drive at a reasonable speed based on the weather and road conditions
  • maintain control of their vehicle
  • yield the right of way
  • use turn signals, and
  • follow at a safe distance.

Third, you must prove the other driver’s breach of duty was the cause of the accident. Finally, you must establish that you suffered damages as a result of the accident. This includes car accident injuries and vehicle damage.

This is fairly simple in theory, especially when it’s easy to identify the at-fault driver. But what happens when the negligence of two or more drivers caused the accident?

Comparative Negligence vs. Contributory Negligence

If more than one driver is at fault for a car accident, the outcome will vary from state to state. A few states still follow a fairly harsh “contributory negligence” system, but most have adopted “comparative negligence” rules. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

Contributory Negligence

Only a handful of states still subscribe to this system. Essentially, under the law of contributory negligence, if Driver A can show that Driver B’s negligence contributed to the accident to any degree, Driver B can’t recover anything at all in a lawsuit against Driver B. So if Driver B was 1% at fault for the accident, they get nothing from Driver A, even if Driver A was 99% at fault.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence allocates fault between drivers. A driver’s liability may be reduced, but not necessarily eliminated, if the other driver is partly at fault for the accident. There are two variations of the comparative negligence system:

  • Pure comparative negligence: Liability gets split according to the percentage of each driver’s fault. So, if Driver A is 30% to blame for a car accident, and she has $10,000 in damages, she can only collect $7,000 from Driver B (who was 70% to blame for the accident.)
  • Modified comparative negligence: Liability gets split according to the percentage of fault, to a certain level. Once a plaintiff meets or exceeds that level, the plaintiff is barred from recovery. That limit is typically 50% or 51%. In other words, if a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff is barred from recovering anything at all from the other at-fault drivers.

These shared fault rules will apply in the event that your car accident lawsuit goes all the way to trial, but insurance adjusters also keep these principles in mind when negotiating a settlement after a car accident.

Getting Compensation After a Rear-End Accident

In most rear-end collisions, the driver of the tail vehicle will be legally responsible for paying for the lead driver’s monetary damages. The repair costs for the lead vehicle are typically easy to calculate, so many car insurance companies are quick to pay for those costs. But a complication often arises when it comes to paying for the lead driver’s medical bills. That’s because common personal injuries from rear-end collisions are back and whiplash injuries, which are often hard to quantify, as they don’t always show up on diagnostic exams.

Next Steps After a Rear-End Collision

It might seem like identifying the at-fault driver is obvious after a rear-end crash, but there could be small details that can completely shift the liability picture. Even if fault for the accident is no longer in question, the issue of how much you may owe in damages might be in dispute, especially when you and the other driver share blame for the accident.

A car accident lawyer can answer your questions and help you with all phases of a car insurance claim or lawsuit process, including proving fault. Learn more about hiring and working with a lawyer. You can also connect with a lawyer directly from this page for free.

Spanish Speaking Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Spanish-speaking individuals can have a more difficult time seeking justice in their personal injury cases due to language barriers. This causes them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!

Beverly R Caruthers Law Office
Address: 4141 Southwest Fwy, Suite 620
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 526-9557
View our Website
View our Facebook page
View our Google Listing

In the aftermath of an accident that leaves you or a loved one injured, it is crucial to know where to turn for support and justice. The Caruthers Law Firm stands as a beacon of unwavering commitment to the cause of pursuing justice for injury victims. With a track record that speaks volumes about our dedication to excellence and passion for our clients, we have garnered recognition throughout the Houston area as a trusted name in the legal community. When you or a family member suffers an injury due to the negligence of another, the need for an attorney who is not just competent but also recognized for their excellence becomes paramount. The Houston personal injury attorney at The Caruthers Law Firm fits that bill precisely. We have earned accolades and trust from our clients because we don not just handle cases; we champion causes. Our cases frequently involve traumatic, life-altering events, such as the loss of a loved one, and our relentless pursuit of justice ensures our clients receive the compensation necessary to secure their financial future. Our dedicated efforts have successfully secured over $50 million in settlements for our clients, and our commitment to excellence has brought us national recognition, particularly in fields like birth injury law. Whether your life has been upended by a tragic accident or the negligence of another party, you can confide in Caruthers Law Firm to handle your case with the utmost skill, dedication, and compassion in your time of need. Every case we undertake is treated with the gravity and importance it deserves, and we strive to provide the best possible representation to our clients. At Caruthers Law Firm, our attorneys boast an impressive array of knowledge and expertise in various practice areas, including personal injury, criminal defense, wrongful death, and more. We fully acknowledge that each case is unique, and we value the individual concerns and needs of our clients. This understanding leads us to craft tailored legal strategies that address each case is distinctive challenges. When you choose Caruthers Law Firm as your legal representation, you can expect a high degree of professionalism, unwavering integrity, and an unparalleled commitment from the beginning of your case to its conclusion. We are not just lawyers; we are advocates for your rights, dedicated to securing the justice you deserve.

For over three decades, Beverly R. Caruthers has been on an unwavering mission to provide her clients with top-notch, tenacious, and compassionate legal services and representation. Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has not only amassed extensive experience but has also consistently delivered high-quality legal assistance to those who have sought her counsel. Her journey to legal expertise began with academic distinction, having graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Tougaloo College, followed by the acquisition of her Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. With a primary focus on Personal Injury, Criminal Law, and Business Law, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has honed her legal acumen in these pivotal areas. Complementing her knowledge and skills, The Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers is fortified by a collaborative team of seasoned and highly qualified attorneys. Together, they work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcomes for each and every client they serve. In the Caruthers family, the pursuit of legal excellence seems to be a cherished tradition. Briona Caruthers, following in the footsteps of her older brother and colleague, hails from Missouri City, Texas, where she graduated from Elkins High School in 2015. Venturing outside her hometown, she spent four years at Hofstra University in New York, where she diligently earned her Bachelor Degree in Legal Studies in Business in 2019. After her academic journey in New York, she returned to her roots in Houston, Texas. There, she attended the same illustrious institution where her mother, Beverly R. Caruthers, and her brothers, Eddie and Parker Caruthers, had studied—the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. In 2022, Briona graduated Cum Laude from TSU, thereby continuing the family legacy. Beyond her legal pursuits, Briona finds solace in retail therapy and enjoys exploring the world through her travels when she is not in the office, fervently advocating for her clients rights. Parker Caruthers, another member of the Caruthers family, was born and raised in Missouri City, Texas, where he completed his high school education at Clements High School in 2012. His educational journey took him to Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing in 2017. Parker commitment to legal studies led him to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at TSU, from where he graduated in 2021. During his time in law school, Parker legal prowess shone through as he secured victory in the Helen Dawn Williams Mock Trial competition, all while gaining valuable experience through internships at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Opting to take a different path by not pursuing prosecution, Parker joined Caruthers Law Firm in 2021. Beyond the legal realm, Parker passions extend to sports fandom and his role as a proud dog owner. At the Caruthers Law Firm, we take a refreshingly transparent and candid approach when assessing our potential clients circumstances. We believe in clear, honest, and direct communication, leaving aside the legal jargon to speak in terms that our clients can readily understand. Each client is treated as a unique individual, receiving personalized and attentive care throughout their legal journey with us.

We are immensely grateful to each and every individual who wholeheartedly contributed to the success of "The Christmas Toy Drive and Giveaway" and "The Back to School Giveaway" right here in the vibrant city of Houston. Your support has made a profound difference in the lives of countless local children, and it is a testament to the incredible community spirit that defines our city. At The Caruthers Law Firm, we take great pride in being active sponsors of these important initiatives, which focus on providing crucial resources to Houstons youth. Some of the recipients come from families struggling with limited income, making it challenging for them to provide the necessary school supplies for their children. For others, the prospect of a joyous Christmas was a distant dream due to a lack of toys. In these circumstances, we aimed to make a meaningful and positive impact on these children and their families. It is through the unwavering support and dedication of our local community that we were able to realize this vision. We encourage you to consider joining us in this noble cause and be a part of the change in the lives of Houston families. Your involvement can take various forms, whether through donating items, contributing funds, or taking the initiative to organize a collection drive within your organization, church, club, or local community. Your support will undoubtedly go a long way in touching the lives of those in need, ensuring that every child in our city can look forward to a brighter future. By working together, we not only provide essential items but also instill a sense of hope, compassion, and generosity within our beloved Houston community. Together, we can create a stronger, more caring, and inclusive community, one that continues to uplift and empower those who need it most. Thank you for being a part of this vital mission.

Scroll to Top

Send us a message