Can the lead driver be at fault for a rear-end collision in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Apr 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

Certainly. The lead driver may be at fault for a rear-end automobile collision in Nevada in any of the following situations:

  • The lead driver's brake lights were not working,
  • The lead driver's brakes were not working well,
  • The lead driver had the car in reverse when he/she should have been driving forward,
  • The lead driver cut off the rear driver without signaling and/or leaving sufficient space,
  • The lead driver changed lanes without warning,
  • The lead driver stopped without warning,
  • The lead driver tapped the brakes by mistake,
  • The lead driver's car began stalling, and he/she failed to move the car off the road in a timely manner

The primary circumstance where rear drivers are at fault in rear-end collisions is if they are tailgating and neglect to leave sufficient space in front of them in order to brake in time.

When both drivers are at fault

In many rear-end collisions, both parties are to blame to a degree: Perhaps the rear driver was tailgating a little, but the lead driver's tail lights were broken. Or perhaps the rear driver was having brake trouble and sounded the horn, but the lead driver could not hear the horn over the sound of the stereo and failed to make way.

When both parties to a rear-end collision are to blame, it still may be possible for one driver to recover damages from the other in a personal injury suit...

Nevada is a "modified comparative negligence" state. This means that a plaintiff can recover a percentage of the plaintiff's compensatory damages as long as one or more defendants were at least 50% responsible for the injury or accident. So as long as the plaintiff was not more than 50% at fault, he/she should be eligible for a financial reward.

Put another way, if the plaintiff is 50% or less at fault, then he/she can recover damages minus his/her own liability:

Example: Jeb is the rear driver in a rear-end collision. Jeb was slightly tailgating the lead driver Andrew, who was texting and drinking while driving. Jeb sustains $10,000 worth of damages to his car. The court finds that Jeb is 40% at fault for the accident, and that Andrew was 60% at fault. Therefore, Jeb may recover damages because he is no more than 50% at fault. However, Jeb's recovery is limited to only 60% of his damages due to his share in the liability. So the court awards him $6,000, which is 60% of the total damages.

If Jeb in the above example was found mostly at fault, then he would not be eligible for any damages. Then Andrew could bring a negligence lawsuit against Jeb and recover damages, minus his percentage of liability, if any.

Note that compensatory damages cover such expenses as:

  • property damage,
  • medical bills, and/or
  • pain and suffering

Courts may also award punitive damages, which may be as much as three (3) times the amount of compensatory damages. Whereas the purpose of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff whole, the purpose of the punitive damages is to punish the defendant.

For more information, see our article 10 critical steps to take after a Nevada car accident.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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