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Liability for rear-enders in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2021 | Car Accidents

Almost everyone in New Jersey is in a rush to get somewhere. Quite often, you will find other drivers driving too close to you, to the point that a sudden stop or interference could lead to a rear-end impact. If you are a victim, read on to find out the circumstances that make you or the other driver liable.

New Jersey rear-end distance laws

According to New Jersey law (N.J.S.A 39:4-89), the distance between two vehicles on the same lane, driving at a speed of 10mph should be the average length of a car (this is about 15 to 17 feet). If you can’t assume this distance, you should use the three seconds rule to determine a safe interspace. When driving behind another car and there is an object like a sign or a building besides the road, immediately the car in front passes it, count to three seconds before you pass the same object.

Who is liable for rear-end accidents

When rear-end motor vehicle accidents occur, the driver behind is usually the one blamed for the collision. This is because the court expects them to maintain a safe distance that can enable them to react fast when something happens to the car in front. But, there are limitations to this rule.

The rear driver won’t be at fault when:
• Another driver cuts you off unexpectedly without observing the distance rule.
• The reasons behind the collision are beyond your control, like roadway hazards or weather conditions.
• The front driver intentionally and suddenly slams the brakes.
• The front driver backs up to the rear car.

The court can also find the front and the rear driver liable if they both contribute to the rear-end collision. This is known as New Jersey’s comparative negligence rule. The court will reduce the compensation of the hit driver by their percentage of contribution to the accident.

Compensation for rear-end accidents

Suppose the court finds either of the drivers at fault for rear-end collisions. In that case, they will determine the appropriate settlement for the driver who isn’t at fault by looking at factors such as loss of wages from time out of work, pain and suffering, medical bills, car repairs, and insurance coverage. Remember to file a lawsuit within two years from the date you had the accident.

Rear-end collisions are becoming quite common in New Jersey. If you are a victim, remember to sue on time to get the compensation that you deserve.