After a car accident

Rear-End Collisions – When the Rear Driver is Not Liable

Rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor vehicle accident in Canada. Whether they were driving too fast or following too close, in the vast majority of these cases the rear driver is responsible for causing the accident.

How fault is determined in a motor vehicle accident

The government of Ontario has established the Fault Determination Rules, which is used by insurance companies to determine the extent to which each driver was at fault for an accident. This covers over 40 different potential accident scenarios, and allows for consistent and timely processing of claims.

If you ask your insurance company, they will probably tell you that if one vehicle hits another vehicle from behind, the driver of the rear-ending vehicle is at fault. But in a civil tort claim, the Fault Determination Rules are not necessarily indicative of liability. While informative, the court may consider all of the evidence, and decide whether the first vehicle should actually be held partly, or completely, responsible.

When is the driver of the front car liable for a rear-end collision?

In Ontario motor vehicle claims, there is a presumption that the driver of a rear-ending vehicle is responsible for an accident. However, they can prove otherwise with sufficient evidence that shows they were not negligent. (see Iannarella v. Corbett)

There are some circumstances where Canadian courts have determined that the lead driver was largely, or even completely, responsible for an accident. These include where the lead driver suddenly, and for no reason, stopped at an intersection on a green light, (see Ayers v. Singh) and where the lead driver cuts off the rear driver from another lane without signalling, (see Bingul v. Youngson).  In all of the cases where a rear-ending driver has been absolved of responsibility, there was extensive corroborating evidence

Ontario personal injury lawyers representing motor vehicle accident victims

If you have been injured after hitting another vehicle from behind, but were not responsible for the accident, you need to speak to a qualified lawyer with experience handling motor vehicle claims. It can be difficult to show, but skilled personal injury counsel can secure witness statements, consult with accident reconstruction experts, and put forward the best possible case on your behalf.

At Derfel Personal Injury Law, we specialize in handling personal injury and motor vehicle accident claims. If you were injured in a rear-end collision, and believe that the other driver was negligent, you may have a claim for compensation. To make an appointment with one of our team members, contact us online or call 416-847-3580. We can meet new clients at locations in Toronto.