When people see a rear-end collision, they will likely assume that the driver of the vehicle in back was at fault. Although this is true in most of these crashes, there are situations where that driver is only partially at fault, or even not liable at all.
Rear-end collisions are the most common kind, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting that almost one-third of all motor vehicle crashes fall into this category.
Reckless driving causes many car accidents, including rear-end crashes. Tailgating is a leading reason for these crashes. Following too close behind another vehicle is dangerous, because if the lead car suddenly slows up or stops, the second car will hit them in the back.
Changing lanes haphazardly is another risk factor, especially when done at high speeds. These crashes also occur when a vehicle makes reckless maneuvers. For example, if a car accelerates when turning into a parking lot, it may hit a vehicle in the lot that just pulled out of a space.
In other situations, a rear-end collision might be unavoidable. If a driver has to slam on their brakes to avoid crashing into something, a car coming up behind them may not be able to avoid hitting them from the back. This could happen if a pedestrian or dog “came out of nowhere” and ran into the middle of a road.
Also, if something such as heavy fog suddenly caused reduced visibility, this could affect the driver’s ability to see what was ahead of them.
If there was no way to prevent a rear-end collision from happening, the second driver may not be liable. Aside from having to avoid something or poor weather conditions, there can be other reasons.
When there are more than two vehicles involved in a crash, a car can be jolted from behind and pushed into the back of a car. There have also been cases where a vehicle was defective, and its brakes stopped working.
Also, less common but possible, are cases where the rear-ended driver has some liability. If a car is stopped on a road because it broke down, for example, this is dangerous to others, especially if their hazard lights are not on.
Drivers that are rear-ended can also have contributed to the problem if their tail lights are not working or if they mistakenly put their car in reverse. In these situations, the drivers may be found partially negligent in causing the accident.
Depending on speed and force of impact, these injuries can range from mild to extremely serious. If the crash occurs at a high speed, victims can experience severe injuries from hitting the dashboard, steering wheel, or airbag. Although seatbelts save lives, they can cause bruises and lacerations to the body in rear-end accidents.
Whiplash is fairly common, and its symptoms include neck and shoulder pain that can last for over a year. Other injuries can include herniated discs, or back, face, and head trauma.
Determining liability in rear-end accidents requires experienced legal guidance, and a Media personal injury lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can assist you with any type of personal injury claim. Contact us for a free case evaluation by calling 610-565-3700 or complete an online form. With offices in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.