Whose fault is it rear end collision ? Car A or Car B or Car C

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Whose fault is it rear end collision ? Car A or Car B or Car C

car A and car C was driving in the middle lane, car B suddenly get into middle
lane without indication and suddenly stopped and car C collapsed with car B.
Whose fault is it? while merging into middle lane car b had minor crash with
car A and stopped car B had marks on their right edge of the corner and car A
had marks on their back of middle to left.

Asked on August 15, 2017 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Typically, the rear car (Car C) would be held to be at fault, since the rearmost driver is required to maintain such safe following distance and speed (and pay sufficient attention to what the car[s] ahead of him are doing) as to be able to stop in time. That leads to a legal presumption that the rear driver was at fault.
This is "only" a presumption: it is strong, but can be overturned. The facts you site would likely lead a court to overturning that presumption and finding the car which was rear-ended (Car B) to have been at fault: since Car B suddenly dove between A and C, C had no reason to be, or opportunity to, maintain[ing] a safe following speed or distance from B, or to be monitoring B for any sudden stops. B's actions, not C's, created the collission. On these facts, it appears B, not C, was at fault. Of course, a court is not obligated to conclude this, and could still find C at fault--but the stated facts create a strong scenario for finding B at fault instead.

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