When is the Rear Driver NOT Liable for a Rear-End Collision in Alaska?


It probably comes as no shock to learn that rear-end collisions rank toward the top of the list when it comes to common car accidents in Alaska. Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that these incidents trend at around one-third: Rear-endings make up more than 29% of all motor vehicle crashes every year, 30% of all traffic-related injuries, and 29.7% of all property damage. Based on the physics, it is a common assumption that a rear-end car accident will always be blamed on the following driver. While this is true in many cases, this theory does not account for the other causes.

Still, it does create challenges for injured victims when there are other factors at stake in a rear-ending. You should trust an Anchorage, AK car accident lawyer to assist with the legal process, but it is also important to know when a rear-end crash was not the following driver’s fault.


Dangerous Automobile Defects

Motor vehicle production is a complicated process, and any mistakes along the way can lead the end product to contain accident-causing defects. These flawed automobiles are often the subject of a government or manufacturer recall, but manufacturing errors and design defects can still lead to rear-end collisions before they are discovered.


Defective Parts and Components

 At times, a rear-ending may be the result of a defect in a specific component or system that was manufactured by a company other than the automaker. Any of these parts could contain their own hidden dangers, so a rear-end collision could be due to issues with:

  • Tires and hubcaps;
  • Brakes, pads, and related equipment;
  • Navigation systems;
  • Cruise control and adaptive cruise control;
  • Emergency braking systems; and,
  • Many others.


When a rear-end accident is the result of misconduct by an automaker or parts manufacturer, the following driver may not be liable. Moreover, a person who is injured after hitting the forward car may be able to sue the companies for damages.


Hazardous Road Infrastructure 

Public roads in Alaska are managed by various federal, state, and local agencies, but these officials can engage in negligence by failing to maintain them safely. Issues with infrastructure can lead to rear-end collisions, such as not taking reasonable care when:

  • Positioning traffic lights, signs and signals;
  • Managing traffic through lane markings, exit and on ramps, and related structures; and,
  • Inspecting and making repairs to roadway hazards, including potholes, washed-out roads, and damaged road shoulders.


When the road conditions are to blame for a rear-ending, you could pursue the government body for compensation. Note that the legal rules are different in these cases than when seeking damages from a private person or entity.


Discuss Your Rights with an Anchorage, AK Car Crash Attorney 

It is a mistake to operate under the assumption that the following driver is always responsible for a rear-ending, so you may still have legal options if you were hurt after colliding with the vehicle in front of you. For more information, please contact Power & Power Law to set up a no-cost case evaluation at our Anchorage offices.