Rear-end collisions are among the more relatively “easy” matters handled by New Orleans auto injury attorneys. This is because in most motor vehicle accidents, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the other driver was negligent. This is not the case in rear-end collisions. Instead, the burden is placed on the party who struck the other vehicle from behind to prove that he or she was not negligent.
Louisiana Revised Statute 32:81 requires drivers to not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, with due regard both for the speed of such vehicle and for the traffic upon and condition of the highway. When a driver strikes another vehicle from behind, there is a legal presumption that the striking driver breached this duty. As a result, that driver also is presumed to be negligent. Essentially, in a rear-end collision, instead of the driver who was struck and injured having to prove that the rear driver was negligent, the rear-ending driver must present proof that he or she was not negligent.
The rear-ending driver may attempt to rebut the presumption that he was at fault for the collision in a few ways. The driver may attempt to prove that he was not at fault for the collision by establishing that he had his vehicle under control, that he closely observed the lead vehicle, and that he followed at a safe distance under the circumstances. A driver may also rebut the presumption of fault if it can be shown that the lead motorist negligently created a hazard, which could not be reasonably avoided.
If the rear driver cannot establish either of these two scenarios, the presumption of that driver’s fault stands, and that driver is considered responsible for having caused the accident.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and have any questions, we would be glad to speak with you. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.