US District Court Rules that Rear End Collisions are Not Per Se Negligence

An interesting Federal District Court decision in Massachusetts found that while evidence of the defendant rear ending the car stopped behind the plaintiff could show negligence, it was insufficient to establish the defendant's negligence as a matter of law.

The Court stated that "Evidence of a rear-end collision without evidence of the circumstances under which is happens is not proof of the negligence of the operator of either vehicle, and the rule of res ipsa loquitur does not apply....Similarly, evidence that a defendant violated a safety statute or ordinance is 'but evidence of negligence' and does not establish per se liability..."Hatcher v.Fermental, et al.

This does throw off personal injury liability a bit, as generally speaking when the plaintiff has been rear ended by the defendant, it's usually established early on that the defendant must have been negligent. This could make even initial negotiations with insurers more difficult, as plaintiffs struggle to assert that not only were they rear ended, but the defendant was negligent in doing so.

Going at it alone might not be the best idea. If you've been rear ended in a motor vehicle accident and suffered personal injury, contact our office today for a free consultation.

Categories: Personal Injury
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