Rear End Car Accidents

Rear end car accidents

Rear end car accidents – when one vehicle is hit in the rear by another following behind – are one of the most common car accidents on the roadway today. Even though they don’t typically cause fatalities, whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered. They can also cause neck and spine injuries and concussions.

Who is Liable in Rear End Car Accidents?

Most often, the driver who collided into the rear of the front, or lead, vehicle is considered to be at fault under both Missouri and Kansas law. However, in both states there are exceptions to this rule. An experienced car accident attorney can help determine fault.

Example of an exception: If the lead car is “brake checking” and this leads to a rear end accident, the lead driver may be deemed to be at fault.

Brake checking is when a driver hits the brake hard to send a message to the tailgater. S/he does not have a legitimate reason to hit the brake.

The courts assign fault in car accident cases. In the state of Missouri, liability in car accidents is determined using a comparative negligence doctrine, meaning the courts will determine the percentage of fault and may assign fault to either or both drivers.

(Note: this is a general overview and does not address all scenarios.)

Missouri Rear End Collision doctrine

Missouri is one of several states which have adopted what is called the “rear-end collision doctrine”. This doctrine addresses the unique situations created by rear end collisions. Under this doctrine, the injured driver of the lead vehicle is not required to prove a specific negligent act of the rear colliding driver.

The injured front driver must show:

  • That s/he had a right to be on the portion of the roadway
  • That s/he was struck from behind by another vehicle
  • That s/he was not otherwise operating in a negligent manner

The judge looks at all aspects of the car accident and will then determine if the doctrine should apply; if it does, then the doctrine shifts the burden to the at-fault driver to prove he or she utilized the highest degree of care under the circumstances.

Have you been in a rear end car accident? Call us at (877) 284-6600 for a free, no-obligation case review.

Reasonable Level of Care When Driving

Drivers have a general duty to operate their vehicle in a reasonable and safe manner to protect others. Operating a vehicle in any manner which breaches these duties may be considered to have been negligent.

  • Duty to drive at a reasonable speed
  • Duty to maintain equipment
  • Duty to take reasonable action to avoid
  • Duty to maintain control of the vehicle
  • Duty to be on the look out
  • Duties determined by state law

Common causes for rear end car accidents

  • tailgating rear end car accidents common car accidentsTailgating, when one vehicle follows too closely behind another and results in the tailgater’s inability to stop in time (causing a rear end accident)
  • Dangerous lane changes, i.e., cutting in front of another vehicle without leaving enough space between both cars
  • Driver stops short, when the driver in front stops suddenly to avoid another obstacle or is brake checking
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs slows down a driver’s reaction time
  • Distracted driving, i.e., texting, talking on the phone, monitoring kids or eating
  • Auto defects or maintenance failures, i.e., airbag failures, seatbelt defects, faulty brakes

Tip to avoid tailgating: Use the 3-second rule to help you determine a reasonable or safe distance in normal conditions. If the roadway or other conditions become more dangerous, adjust this to 4 seconds or more. To do this, pick a stationary object like a sign. Start counting to three once the rear-end of the vehicle ahead of you has passed it. You are following too close if you do not make it to three before you pass the object.

Rear end Accident Injuries

car accident injury whiplash concussions neck and spine injuriesDrivers and passengers in rear end collisions often suffer from soft tissue (whiplash), concussions or head injuries due to the head snapping back and forth.

Common injuries include:

  • Whiplash, spine, or back injuries
  • Burns and lacerations from airbags
  • Broken or fractured bones, (ribs, hands, arms, collarbone, shoulder)
  • Knee injuries
  • Brain injuries and more

If you have been seriously injured in a rear end car accident, a personal injury or car accident attorney may be able to obtain costs of:

  • Medical care, including rehabilitation and therapy
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future medical treatment
  • Permanent disfigurement


In any accident, the insurance company for the at-fault party is not your friend. Their goal is to settle for the least amount. The attorneys at Nash & Franciskato will make sure you are treated fairly and avoid common mistakes that may happen when you are acting on your own.

If you have been hit from behind by a negligent or reckless driver and have suffered serious injuries, having an attorney who is your advocate can offer you peace of mind during your recovery.

Call Nash & Franciskato at (877) 284-6600. We have a successful track record of helping accident victims collect the compensation they deserve. One of our experienced staff will speak with you personally and will provide you with a free, no-obligation review of your case.



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Find related blog articles: Automobile Accidents and Personal Injury


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