Under Louisiana law, there is a well-established presumption that, in a rear-end collision, the following driver breached the standard of care set out in La. R.S. 32:81 and is, thus, presumed negligent. La. R.S. 32:81 states, in relevant part, that:
[T]he 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 vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
Louisiana law also allows the rear vehicle to escape liability by proving lack of fault. To escape liability, the following motorist has the burden to prove that he or she had his vehicle under control, closely observed the lead vehicle and followed at a safe distance or that the lead vehicle negligently created a hazard which the following vehicle could not reasonably avoid.
For example, in Daigle v. Mumphrey, 96-1891 (La.App. 4th Cir.3/12/97), 691 So.2d 260, the court held that a driver changing lanes without first determining that the move could be completed safely and then struck from the rear by a following car, could not rely on the rear-end collision presumption to shift the burden to the following driver. In addition, in Loveday v. Travelers Ins. Co., 585 So.2d 597 (La.App. 3d Cir.1991), writ denied, 590 So.2d 65 (La.1991, the court determined that a driver entering a highway from a private drive or from the shoulder has the primary duty to avoid a collision, even if a rear-end collision results.
If you have been the victim of a rear end collision, we would like to help.