While the general rule in rear-end collisions is that the driver of the rear car is typically at fault, there can be exceptions to this rule depending on specific circumstances and local laws. Here are a couple of exceptions to consider:
Sudden and Unforeseeable Stops: If the driver of the front car makes a sudden and unforeseeable stop, and the middle car has insufficient time to react and avoid a collision, some jurisdictions might assign a portion of the fault to the driver of the front car. However, this is often challenging to prove, and the presumption of fault still tends to fall on the driver of the rear car. It would require strong evidence that the front car's actions were reckless or negligent.
Multiple Contributing Factors: In some cases, a combination of factors from all involved parties could contribute to the accident. For example, if the driver of the back car was tailgating the middle car while the middle car was distracted, this shared negligence might affect fault allocation. The extent to which each driver's actions contributed to the collision may be assessed, and fault might be distributed accordingly.
Brake Lights Malfunction: If the brake lights on the middle car (or the front car) malfunctioned and did not illuminate to indicate a stop, it could create a situation where the driver of the back car had less time to react. In such cases, fault might be shared among the parties involved, considering the technical malfunction as a contributing factor.