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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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What is Indiana State law on rearend collisions Whos at

Resolved Question:

What is Indiana State law on rear'end collisions? Whos at fault?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Hello there:

The law is that each driver is responsible for safely operating their own vehicle, so whichever driver failed to do so, thereby causing the accident, would be at fault. If the rear driver was stopped at a signal and the front driver backed his vehicle into him, the front driver would ordinarily be at fault. If the front driver was stopped at a traffic signal and the rear driver just plowed into him, the rear driver would be at fault. The only thing that makes rear end accidents tricky is not the facts of who is at fault, but the evidence. Most drivers do not operate their vehicle in reverse when driving on the roads, so when a rear end accident occurs, the rear driver is almost certainly the one who is at fault; if you have a rear end accident and the conflicting testimony of the drivers, the rear driver will almost certainly be found liable based solely on the physical evidence; it's not an issue of law--it's a question of evidence.

In cases where more than one driver is at fault, a driver can recover in Indiana only if it is determined that he is less than 51% responsible for the accident. So, using the traffic signal example, perhaps the front driver was fiddling with his radio and stopped on his brakes rather abruptly for the traffic signal; let's say that the driver behind him also wasn't paying attention and, partially because of the front driver's sudden stop, there was a rear-end collision. The front driver might be found 20% or so at fault and the rear driver at 80%(ish). the front driver could recover damages, but the rear driver could not even though the front driver contributed somewhat to the accident because the rear driver's own liability exceeded 50%.

Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I stopped at a light. The driver behind nearly rear-ended me. We proceded and he went around me, pulled back in front of me and slammed on his brakes. I avoided it the first time, but then he started moving again and immediately stomped on his brake again, causing me to collide with him. We had a witness that made essentially the same statement I did regarding the aggressive driver's behavior, and the police officer did mark the accident report as being the result of aggressive driving and put the statements on the report. The aggressive driver appears to have violated the following state statutes: IC 9-21-8-24, item 1, IC 9-21-8-52, item 1, IC 9-21-8-26), and IC 9-21-8-55, items 2 (violation of IC 9-21-8-24), item 4 (violation of IC 9-21-8-26), and item c, which covers deliberate knowingly engaging in aggressive driving to intimidate or harrass another vehicle. What I want to know is what is the IC number of the law regarding rear end collisions. I have found these laws on the website, but I haven't located the rear end collision statute.

Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
You're missing the point... there's not a rear end statute. The question is one of negligence. The comparative negligence standard is codified in Indiana Code 34-51-2-5, but the foundation for recovery in suit is in case law; the legal history of it goes back to before we even had our own Constitution. It's a mistake to believe that our laws are all codified; that is not the case for most of our core legal principles, including the rules of negligence.
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