The Deming, Washington resident was out shopping for a child’s birthday present when the truck in front of her suddenly slammed on the brakes. Apparently, she did not have sufficient time or room to stop before rear-ending the truck. At that point, the truck’s cargo, a bundle of 27-foot-long wooden poles, slid right out of the back of the truck, through her windshield, and out the back of her car. While the victim managed to avoid any permanent brain damage, she was seriously injured by the poles.
Washington State Law on Rear-End Collisions
Most states have a law that creates a presumption of fault in a rear-end collision. Washington State is among those states. The Washington State traffic code that addresses following too closely reads as follows, under RCW 46.61.145:
- The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
- The driver of any motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district and which is following another motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle shall, whenever conditions permit, leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger, except that this shall not prevent a motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from overtaking and passing any like vehicle or other vehicle.
- Motor vehicles being driven upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district in a caravan or motorcade whether or not towing other vehicles shall be so operated as to allow sufficient space between each such vehicle or combination of vehicles so as to enable any other vehicle to enter and occupy such space without danger. This provision shall not apply to funeral processions.
In essence, this means that if you are following too closely behind another vehicle and that causes a collision, you are presumptively at fault, or negligent. If you are the negligent party, you are responsible for any damages that result from the accident. It is important to remember, however, that the laws relating to rear-end collisions create only a presumption of fault. A presumption can be rebutted. There are circumstances that may rebut that presumption and place the blame on the driver who was in front, or on another driver or party altogether. In addition, the facts and circumstances of the accident may shift some, if not all, of the blame away from the driver who rear-ended the vehicle. Because Washington State is a comparative negligence state, negligence, or blame, for an accident can be shared among the parties involved. For this reason, it is important to look at the specific facts of the accident before assuming that the driver who rear-ended another vehicle is automatically 100 percent at fault.
If you have been involved in a Washington State auto accident and have suffered injuries as a result of the collision, you should consult with a Yakima car accident attorney to determine what legal options you may have. If another party was substantially to blame for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Washington State accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help. Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.