In a Rear End Crash, is the Car that Did the Rear Ending Always at Fault?

Hurt in a rear-end car collision in Nevada? You are certainly not alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rear-end crashes are the single most common type of multi-vehicle collision. Approximately half of all multi-vehicle wrecks are rear-end crashes. You may be wondering: Is the rear driver always at fault for a rear-end collision? In Nevada, the answer is “no”—while the rear driver is far more likely to be held responsible for this type of crash, liability is not automatic. The specific circumstances of the rear-end collision always matter. Within this article, our Las Vegas auto accident attorney provides a comprehensive overview of the most important things motorists should know about fault for rear-end collisions in Nevada.

Rear-end Car Collision

Background: Nevada is At-Fault, Comparative Negligence State

As a starting point, it is important to understand that motor vehicle accident cases are largely governed by state law. Involved in a rear-end crash in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Clark County? It is crucial that you know how Nevada law handles these types of claims. Nevada is a fault-based auto accident liability state. The party—motorist or otherwise—who is responsible for causing an accident is responsible for paying for the damages. Proving fault is key for any auto accident claim. 

Under Nevada law (N.R.S. § 41-141), car crash claims—including rear-end collision cases—are subject to a modified comparative negligence standard. State law recognizes that multiple parties may share blame for an incident. In these cases, financial responsibility will be apportioned with consideration to each party’s degree of fault. For example, if a driver is only at fault for 25 percent of the blame for an accident, they can still pursue compensation for 75 percent of their damages. 

Note: As Nevada is a modified comparative negligence state, injured victims are barred from pursuing compensation from another party if they are deemed to be at fault for 51 percent or more of their own accident. 

Every Rear-End Car Accident Should Be Thoroughly Investigated

While it may be a common initial assumption that the driver of the vehicle that rear-ends another is at fault, this is not a hard and fast rule. Each rear-end collision is unique. The rear driver is not automatically at fault. The lead driver may be partially (or even fully) to blame for the crash. Every rear-end accident in Las Vegas deserves a thorough investigation to determine the actual circumstances that led to the crash. 

Among other things, an investigation will typically involve examining physical evidence from the accident scene, reviewing traffic camera footage if available, and analyzing vehicle damage. Testimonies from eyewitnesses also play a key role. The sooner an investigation is conducted, the better. If you were involved in a rear-end collision, consult with our Las Vegas car accident attorney right away after a major wreck. 

Rear Driver in A Rear End Collision is Often at Fault (But Not Always)

As noted previously, with most rear-end collision cases, the second driver in line is deemed to be at fault for the crash. There is a core overriding principle of traffic safety in Nevada that holds that drivers should always maintain a safe distance to stop without colliding with the vehicle ahead—even if an unexpected and immediate stop is required. Still, every auto accident case involves its own unique set of facts. Comprehensive investigation is a must. A driver is the car second in line is often, but not always at fault. A lead driver may share some of the blame. Further, in a limited number of cases, a lead driver may even be determined to be at fault for the crash. Here is an overview of some examples to help you better understand fault for rear-end collisions in Nevada: 

  • Rear Driver at Fault for Crash (Speeding): Speeding by the driver behind you contributes to a significant number of rear-end collisions. Nevada law mandates that drivers must operate their vehicles at a reasonable speed, which is determined by road conditions, traffic, and the legal speed limit. When a driver is speeding prior to colliding with the car in front , they are typically held liable for the resulting damages. Speeding is negligent driving. 
  • Rear Driver at Fault for Crash (Distracted Driving): Distracted driving is another leading cause of rear end collisions in Nevada. When a driver fails to pay full and proper attention to the road—whether because of texting and driving or other distractions—they may not notice that traffic has slowed or even stopped. The inattention is a clear breach of the legal duty of care owed to other road users. Distracted driving is negligence. 
  • Shared Fault (Following Too Closely, Defective Brake Lights): Nevada recognizes the concept of comparative negligence, which allows for shared fault in auto accidents. In a scenario where the driver is following too closely and the lead driver has defective brake lights, both parties may share responsibility for a collision. The rear driver’s failure to maintain a safe following distance contributes to the crash, but the lead driver’s lack of functioning brake lights also plays a role in the rear driver’s inability to respond appropriately. In such cases, a percentage of fault may be assigned to each driver, which will determine their respective liabilities for damages. 
  • Lead Driver at Fault for Crash (Reckless and Intentional Hard Braking): Although the driver in the car second in line, is typically at fault in a rear-end collision, there are exceptions. For example, if the lead driver executes a reckless and intentional hard brake—known colloquially as a “brake check”—without a legitimate reason, they may be held responsible for the resulting collision. Such behavior is considered aggressive driving and is against the law in Nevada. This deliberate act can surprise the following driver, making a collision nearly unavoidable. These are complicated cases and a comprehensive investigation is a must. 

Recovering Rear-End Collisions Compensation in Nevada

Rear-end car accident claims are complicated. Following a major rear-end crash, it is imperative that injured victims are able to secure the full and fair compensation that they need to cover their economic losses and non-economic losses. You have the right to bring a civil auto accident claim. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on an insurance company to protect your interests. Professional legal representation can make the difference, Our Las Vegas nevada personal injury attorneys  help rear-end collision victims secure the greatest possible financial compensation. Depending on the nature of your crash, you may be able to recover compensation for: 

  • Vehicle repairs; 
  • Emergency medical treatment; 
  • Hospital bills; 
  • Medical expenses; 
  • Lost wages; 
  • Diminished earnings; 
  • Pain and suffering; 
  • Mental distress; 
  • Long-term disability; 
  • Physical disfigurement; and
  • Wrongful death. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Fault in a Rear-End Collision

I Rear Ended Someone Who Stopped Suddenly on Highway in Nevada: Who is at Fault?

It depends. Fault is always based on the specific nature and cause of the crash. In Nevada, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is typically considered at fault. By law, drivers are expected to maintain a safe distance to stop safely— even if the car in front stops suddenly. That being said, there are exceptions. Fault can be shared or potentially even shifted to the front driver if it is shown that the lead driver acted erratically, violated traffic laws, there were mechanical failures, or if other serious issues occurred. 

How Long Do I Have to Bring a Rear-End Collision Claim?

Be proactive after a motor vehicle crash. You have a limited period of time to initiate an auto accident injury claim. Under Nevada law (N.R.S. § 11.190(4)(e)), you have two years from the date of the collision to bring a personal injury claim. However, for property damage, you have three years from the date of the accident under N.R.S. § 11.190(3)(c). Do not fall behind in the personal injury claims process. Speak to a top-tier Las Vegas car accident attorney right away after a rear-end crash. 

Should I Consult With an Attorney After a Rear-End Crash in Las Vegas?

Yes. You should speak to a Las Vegas rear-end collision attorney as soon as possible after a rear-end auto accident if you sustained a significant injury or if there is a dispute over fault. A lawyer can professionally provide legal guidance tailored to your situation. Among other things, our Las Vegas rear-end collision attorney will help you navigate the insurance claims process and determine the steps you need to take to secure the maximum financial compensation. 

Set Up a Free Case Review With a Top-Tier Las Vegas Rear-End Collision Attorney Today

At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas car accident lawyers have extensive experience handling rear-end collision claims. If you or your family member was hurt in a rear-end collision and you have questions about liability, we are here as a resource. Call us now at (702) 252-0055 or contact us online to set up your free case evaluation. With a law office in Las Vegas, we handle complex rear-end collisions claims in Clark County and all around the surrounding area in Southern Nevada.