Rear-end accidents are one of the most common and dangerous types of accident in which you can be involved. In many cases, the driver in the front vehicle has no idea a collision is about to take place. Additionally, in many cases, the driver in the trailing vehicle hits the car in front with significant force. As a result, many rear-end accidents result in serious injuries that can leave victims with long-term medical problems.
Is the Rear Driver Always at Fault?
Many people have heard that the driver of the car that struck the vehicle in front will always be considered at fault for a rear-end accident. While it is certainly true that the rear driver is often at fault, there are some situations in which the driver of the vehicle that was struck from behind can be held liable.
To understand why this is, it is helpful to keep in mind that in order to be deemed at-fault, a driver must have violated some rule of the road or driven in an unreasonably dangerous manner. Under Pennsylvania law, the driver of a motor vehicle “shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” If a driver is following another vehicle so closely that he cannot slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision, there is a strong likelihood that he was in violation of this law.
Similarly, if a driver is simply not paying attention to the road ahead and slams into another vehicle, she would almost certainly be deemed negligent and held liable. Some of the things that can cause drivers to collide with the vehicle in front of them include the following:
- Texting and driving
- Looking for objects in the vehicle
- Talking on the phone
- Impaired driving
- Adjusting the radio
- Eating or drinking
- Looking at scenery
- Applying makeup
- Speaking with passengers
When is the Rear Driver Not at Fault?
There are some situations in which the driver of the vehicle in front would likely be held liable for a rear-end accident. These include situations in which the driver in front:
- Changed lanes without warning and made it impossible for the rear driver to avoid a collision
- Made a sudden, unnecessary stop in traffic
- Drove with malfunctioning tail lights
- Backed out of a driveway or parking space without looking
- Failed to yield the right of way
- Made an improper turn
- Drove too slowly for the traffic conditions
In addition, there are certain circumstances under which a third party could be held liable for a rear-end collision. For example, if a defect with the road caused unreasonably slick road conditions which resulted in a rear-end accident, there is a strong possibility that the party responsible for the design or maintenance of the road could be held liable. If this kind of accident occurs on public property, the at-fault party is typically a state agency, meaning that victims have a very limited amount of time in which to file a claim. As a result, if you believe your rear-end accident was caused by a defective or poorly maintained road, you should speak to a Philadelphia auto accident lawyer as soon as you can.
How the Levin Firm Can Help Victims Recover
At the Levin Firm, we are dedicated to helping rear-end accident victims recover compensation and will take the time to thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case. We understand how to negotiate with insurance companies to obtain the most favorable settlement possible and are not afraid to take a case to trial if we are unable to secure a reasonable settlement arrangement.
Call the Levin Firm Today to Speak With a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a rear-end car accident or any other type of wreck, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. At the Levin Firm, we will review the facts of your case at no cost to you and determine whether you will be able to recover compensation. We take all of our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you only have to pay legal fees if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Philadelphia car accident lawyer, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.