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Old 12.03.2021, 20:51
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Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

Hi all,

My wife's car has been rear ended while coming to a stop at a traffic light, in the 60km/h zone coming off the autobahn. I hope she's getting away with a scare and mild whiplash. The lady behind the wheel of the other car, a local, was taken into hospital.
Our car which is on foreign plates is most likely totaled.

She took notice in the rear view mirror that the car behind was approaching fast without braking, and braced for impact. I think instinctively she might have let go of the brakes, which would explain why most of the debris landed about 10m into the junction. Now because of that, the police tried to portray it as if she is at fault for perhaps not coming to a full stop as per her intent, and somehow confusing the driver behind.

How are these "controversial" situations handled in Switzerland, does one get to see a judge? what timelines can be expected with the insurance coverage confirmations?

Thank you!
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Old 12.03.2021, 20:53
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

The person behind is ALWAYS responsible.

End of.

Tom
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Old 12.03.2021, 20:54
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

Based on my experience in other jurisdictions, that should be the case. But the police while interviewing for the report made it clear that both drivers are "accused" ...
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:00
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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Based on my experience in other jurisdictions, that should be the case. But the police while interviewing for the report made it clear that both drivers are "accused" ...
Yes, that is typical Swiss. But NOT reality.

I hope that she admitted no fault on her part?

Tom
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:02
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

Will the foreign plates and insurance be a problem?
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:03
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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Will the foreign plates and insurance be a problem?
Why would they be?

Tom
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:18
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

Yes, I was only 10min away and luckily was allowed to support her through the 3.5h interview ... she kept her story straight. Now I guess it's up to the judge or whatever decision making authority comes into play.
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:20
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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Why would they be?

Tom
Relevant here is if the OP and his wife reside in Switzerland (and for how long) as far as insurance and compliance issues goes. Still doesn't alter who is at fault.

My ex-father in law once bought an old car in Basel but stupidly put his existing car's plates from Appenzell on it to transport. On the way he was broadsided by a local old lady who ran a stop sign.

She was treated as the victim, he was hauled over the coals for the licence plate offences. Still, he received an insurance payout because the old duck was at fault.
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:23
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

Instinctively if I saw another car approaching at speed towards my butt, I’d take my foot off the brake. That would reduce the damage as I would no longer be an immovable object.

But I agree the person behind is always at fault. She was stopped. The other person ran into her. It is irrelevant if she was braking or not
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:36
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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The person behind is ALWAYS responsible.
+1. No ifs, no buts. The driver behind has to maintain a suitable distance to be able to stop under ALL circumstances.

What you do is you claim your full car repairs or an equivalent car replacement on the other driver's insurance, plus any personal injury claim, loss of earnings due to sick leave, medical costs, etc.

May be to late now but save any photos of the accident you may have, including tyre marks on the pavement, if possible.

If you have any legal insurance now is the time to call them.


Edit: now I see that police was involved - because there were person injuries they have to investigate all parties and from the start they consider that either of them MAY be at fault. But following the investigation it would be, to put it mildly, quite abnormal that the police would attribute any fault on your wife.
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:42
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

And repeat “I had come to a complete stop, I may have taken my foot off the brake on impact”.
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:44
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

The person behind always being at fault is more a rule of thumb than the law. Which is why the police conduct interviews.
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Old 12.03.2021, 21:48
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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The person behind is ALWAYS responsible.
Tom
I can't tell for Switzerland but in France it is not always the case. For exemple if you break hard for no raison on the motorway, you will be at fault.
In this case, it's what the OP said. (no break, other driver confused ...)
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Old 12.03.2021, 22:07
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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I can't tell for Switzerland but in France it is not always the case. For exemple if you break hard for no raison on the motorway, you will be at fault.
In this case, it's what the OP said. (no break, other driver confused ...)
If you do something which could be considered dangerous driving then it's fair not to expect another driver to deal with it.

But stopping at a red light isn't dangerous driving, pretty much regardless of how you do it. Even if you braked suddenly at the last moment, the driver behind would also have had the warning of the amber traffic light same as the one in front.
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Old 12.03.2021, 22:58
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

Fingers crossed!
How does insurance work here, will the insurer of the local lady turn up to evaluate damages, or is this an independent body? Our car has been towed to a garage, the police called them before I arrived to clear the road.
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Old 12.03.2021, 23:21
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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Fingers crossed!
How does insurance work here, will the insurer of the local lady turn up to evaluate damages, or is this an independent body? Our car has been towed to a garage, the police called them before I arrived to clear the road.
Insurance companies will figure it out between themselves.

Police only matter for fines.

Tom
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Old 12.03.2021, 23:30
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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My wife's car has been rear ended while coming to a stop at a traffic light, in the 60km/h zone coming off the autobahn. ,..
Was the light a color other than green?

If not, the other person is 100% at fault.

Tom
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Old 13.03.2021, 08:10
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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Yes, I was only 10min away and luckily was allowed to support her through the 3.5h interview ... she kept her story straight. Now I guess it's up to the judge or whatever decision making authority comes into play.
Almost half a working day for an interview!
Seems a bit long for someone who suffered a rear ender.
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Old 13.03.2021, 08:15
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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Based on my experience in other jurisdictions, that should be the case. But the police while interviewing for the report made it clear that both drivers are "accused" ...
They try to charge both people, best to say nothing.
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Old 13.03.2021, 09:00
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Re: Rear-End Accident - Fault Attribution

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They try to charge both people, best to say nothing.
This exactly.

While it's normal for most people to be as helpful as possible, especially if they're still a bit shocked, anything you say will almost certainly, if possible, be used as evidence against you.

Are you not supposed to have the handbrake on and the car in neutral (or in park for an automatic) at red lights? I know no one really does it, but I'm pretty sure in the UK we were told we must. Same here? If the OP's wife had done this, the brake lights wouldn't show anyway.

Also, if you look around the internet, there's considerable discussion over whether to keep your foot on the brake or not. Those who say you should keep the car braked say that this reduces the change in speed of the occupants, thus minimising damage to them. Not having your foot on the brake means you minimise damage to the car.

AFAIK, going into the back of someone is only not your fault if you're stationary and they're reversing...
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