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By Shaheen Wallace, Esq. May 10, 2020

Who Is at Fault in A Rear-End Car Accident

A car accident is often violent and unexpected, especially if we are struck from behind. And when we are rear-ended, we automatically assume that the driver behind us is at fault. But is that always the case?

In most rear-end accidents, determining who is at fault is fairly easy. It’s usually the person in the rear.  Most rear-end accidents we see occur when a driver is at a stoplight, stop sign or waiting to merge.

So what does this mean for safe driving practices?

In Pennsylvania, the law requires drivers to not follow someone closer than is reasonable and you have to have due regard for the speed of the car and the condition of the road.

So, for example, if you are doing 70mph on a highway, it may not be reasonable to only have two feet between your car and the one in front of you—in the event we need to suddenly stop; whereas, if you are in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you may not have a choice but to be quite close to other cars.

The law also requires that we pay attention to the speed of the vehicles in front of us, as well as to the condition of the road. Cars going 70 mph in an empty lane on dry pavement will stop easier than a car doing 50 mph on icy pavement.

Finally, the law puts the responsibility on the driver in the rear to pay attention to what’s in front of them, because in the event of an accident, the most important questions that the driver will have to answer are: (1) Were you following closer than was reasonable and (2) were you minding the speed and condition of the road?

So if you are stopped at a red light, stop sign or an intersection and you are rear-ended, it’s often the person who rear-ended you who is at fault. However, you will need to speak to an experienced attorney just to be sure, especially if you were injured in the rear-end accident.

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