Is the "rear-ender" always to blame in a traffic collision?

Early Saturday morning saw my first traffic collision (bar the odd bump) and like nearly all rear end collisions, I’ll probably be held fully accountable. But should the blame be all mine? It was a quiet morning and I was on time, driving to my first job. I was overtaking a cyclist and further up the road a woman had her car door open so I stayed towards the centre of the road for a fluid overtake. At the same time, a driver came out from a side road on the left hand side and I jammed on the brakes but slid into their bumper with a thud.

Was I going above the speed limit? I honestly don’t know, I was certainly going a decent speed to overtake the cyclist safely and I definitely believe the other driver shouldn’t have pulled out, but in 99% of rear-end collisions, blame lies with the driver behind so it will be extremely difficult for me to prove otherwise.

I’m not really frustrated over the collisions itself as I don’t believe I’m fully to blame, but what I’m extremely frustrated over is the fact I had video evidence which could have greatly helped my case and it managed to get overwritten! I had only taken delivery of new car black box recorders the day before the collision. These basically record what can be seen from the windscreen and log GPS location and have a G-Sensor built in to monitor shocks and motion. I’ve been using a different model in the vans for the past 2 years or so. I had only briefly explored the software the night I took delivery with footage from the first van I installed the new camera to, which in the time it was in use, drove for 1 hour and parked for 4 hours. The 8GB card included with the unit was only half full. I wasn’t aware it only recorded motion sensed/shocked segments while parked, so really there was probably only 1.5 hours footage recorded to the card, not the 5 I thought. I also bought additional 32GB cards and from reading recording time levels, I remember seeing a 32GB card can hold over 8 hours footage. I mistakenly had it in my head that I’d have more than 8 hours footage before previous footage would be overwritten and thought the footage, since it was a “shock”, wouldn’t even be overwritten, as was the case with the previous unit.

The van which had the crash was installed with an iTronics ITB100HD first thing in the morning before I drove to a job. The previous unit (Xdriven DRS1100) was hardwired in and they use the same voltage and same size connector so I simply replaced it with the new unit. Unfortunately, each unit has a different overwriting system. I had the crash 5 minutes later and as I was on the way to a job, with the above assumptions, let it record as I knew I may be still in a little shock and thought it would be good to have the camera rolling. As my job involves loading the van with furniture etc, every minute the van was parked was pretty much recorded due to the high sensitivity level and customers and I moving around in the cargo bay loading items. After 6 hours I unplugged it as I didn’t want to take any chances. Unfortunately due to my mistakes and misunderstandings of the new unit, it was too late.

Below is a video recorded as I revisited the scene. The car came out just where the green car on the left is protruding.