Skip to main content

I was involved in a car accident. The other driver rear ended me. Who is liable in a car accident?

San Jose, CA |

Other driver rear ended me, but claimed that I reversed my car. When insurance has denied the claim and held the other driver at fault, who is liable, I or the insurance? Other driver is suing in small claims. Should he not first appeal to the insurance?

Attorney Answers 9


  1. You should immediately consult a personal injury attorney. Sounds like you have a disputed liability case that needs a professional touch. The other driver is probably just taking a swipe to see what sticks.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.


  2. Although in most rear end accidents the car running into the car in the front is at fault, such is not always the case. For example, the driver in the front could be at fault if he applied breaks suddenly. If in fact you shifted your gear to reverse, there could be a potential basis for finding you at fault. We need more details. The question of who is liable in the court of law may or may not have any relationship to the insurance company's findings. The other driver is under no obligation to "appeal" to the insurance first.

    This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. 9 times out of 10, it is the fault of the person who hit you from behind. If sued, turn the papers over to your insurance to defend.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com


  4. The ins co opinion is not legally binding. That is what the court is for. If you have been sued, let your ins co know and they should help you. They cant send a lawyer to small claims court to represent you. If you lose there, you can appeal, and then they can provide a lawyer to defend you on appeal.
    Usually the party who rearends the other is at fault. There are exceptions, such as when someone is backing, or if you cut them off with an unsafe lane change. No police report? No witnesses? perhaps given the locale of where this occurred, it would make absolutely no sense for you to have been backing? Hopefully your version of events is more logical and consistent with the physical evidence.


  5. I agree with the other responses. If you have your own injuries and/or vehicle damage you may cross-complain against the other driver for your own injuries as well. You may need to get this out of small claims court. See a pesonal injury attorney. Good luck.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.


  6. You should immediately seek the advice and help of a personal injury attorney in your area. Do not talk to the insurance company.

    This answer is for informational purposes only and is a general response to a general question. This answer is not meant to be specific legal advice, does not constitute specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. This answer also does not constitute nor is it intended as attorney advertising. You should always consult an attorney for advice regarding your specific, individual situation. Contacting Speed Law Office does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  7. Get a lawyer and countersuee for your damages. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. El abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de accidentes y lesiones is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales de Acidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, y Abogado de Acidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, y California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.


  8. If other party is suing in small claims you need to have your own insurance company represent you and if they don’t they will be acting in bad faith. With respect to the other insurance company their opinion has no baring what so ever; it is useless and self-serving.


  9. In all but a few cases, the driver of the “rear-ending” car or truck will be at fault. Therefore, this driver would be liable for property damage to the “rear-ended” vehicle, as well as any injuries sustained by the victimized driver.

    The underlying logic behind this determination lies in traffic laws which state that all drivers must be given room to stop when a vehicle stops in front of them. With that in mind, it is the responsibility of the “trailing” driver to follow at a safe distance in order for such a stop to occur safely.Comparative Negligence Standards
    Comparative Negligence: In states that utilize comparative negligence theories, individuals may sue another motorist whether or not their own negligence played any role in the accident. However, recovery for damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to them. This situation is often referred to as "apportionment of fault" or "allocation of fault." For example, in the above example, assume that the turning driver sues the speeding motorist for $100,000 in damages. At trial, a jury will be asked to determine what percentage of the accident was caused by the speeding and what percentage of the accident was caused by the turning driver's failure to operate the turn signal. Assume further that the jury finds that the turning driver's own negligence contributed to the accident by 30 percent and the negligence of the other motorist contributed to the accident by 70 percent. If the jury agrees that damages are worth $100,000 the turning driver would only be able to recover $70,000 in damages (or $100,000 reduced by 30 percent caused by that driver's own negligence). If, conversely, the negligence was found to have contributed 70 percent to the accident, the driver could only recover $30,000 for the 30 percent fault for which the other tortfeasor was responsible. Again, this is true in states that apply a "pure" theory of comparative negligence. Other states have modified comparative negligence principles to permit a lawsuit only if a person is were less than 50 percent negligent.

    The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Howard Roitman, Esq. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

Lawsuits and disputes topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics