Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the legendary "Reading Rainbow" host was spotted by cops failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Van Nuys, CA ... so they signaled him to pull over.
We're told as Burton pulled to the side of the road, he stopped suddenly ... causing the cop car to hit him from behind. Law enforcement sources tell us the damage was just to one corner of Burton's car and it wasn't too severe.
The story gets better for two reasons -- 1) Burton got out of the car and was actually wearing a "Reading Rainbow" shirt and 2) the cops didn't give him the original ticket.
LeVar was in good spirits after the accident, telling our photog that accidents happen and the whole incident was "just one of those things."