Who is Liable for a Rear-End Collisions in Rochester, NY?

Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of car accidents. According to data published by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), nearly half of all multi-vehicle wrecks nationwide are rear-end accidents. This raises an important question: Who is liable for a rear-end collision in Rochester? The answer depends on several different factors. Here, our Rochester car accident lawyer explains the key things to know about liability in a rear-end accident case in Upstate New York.

Starting Point: New York’s No-Fault Car Crash Liability Standard

New York is a no-fault auto insurance state. For reference, only about one in four U.S. states have partial or full no-fault car accident laws in place. In New York, all motorists are required to obtain a type of insurance called ‘Personal Injury Protection’ or ‘PIP coverage.’

If you are involved in a rear-end collision, your own insurance policy is responsible for your initial damages—regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Put another way, your own insurance company bears the initial responsibility for your rear-end accident.

Stepping Outside of the No-Fault System: Serious Injuries

In New York, an injured victim can “step outside” of the no-fault insurance system and file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver if they suffered a serious injury in the crash. While minor rear-end collisions are usually purely no-fault insurance claims in New York, a serious rear-end accident may turn into a fault-based claim. For the purposes of New York’s auto accident laws, a serious injury is defined as:

  • Broken bones;
  • Serious disfigurement;
  • Permanent limitation of body organ or member;
  • Significant limitation of body function or system; or
  • Full disability for at least 90 days in the first 180 days following the accident.

The Rear Driver is Often (But Not Automatically) Liable

A serious rear-end collision in Rochester always requires a comprehensive investigation. To hold another driver at-fault for the rear-end crash, you need strong, well-organized evidence that demonstrates their liability. In the majority of rear-end collisions in New York, the second driver is the party at fault for the crash. Some common reasons why these accidents occur include:

  • Speeding;
  • Tailgating; and
  • Distracted driving.

That being said, it should be emphasized that the rear driver is not automatically responsible for a rear-end collision in Rochester, NY. The specific facts of the case always matter. If the front driver did something negligent to cause or contribute to the crash, then he or she could bear full or partial liability of the rear-end collision.

Call Our Rochester, NY Auto Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation

At King Law, our New York car accident lawyers fight tirelessly to maximize your financial compensation. If you or your family member was seriously hurt in a rear-end accident, we are here as a resource. To arrange your no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation, please contact our legal team right away. From our Rochester law office, we handle rear-end collision claims throughout Monroe County, including in Greece, Brighton, Parma, Irondequoit, and Gates.


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