Tuesday, January 26, 2021

In a moment you will be sitting at a traffic light or at the end of a motorway exit and the next thing you will see is another vehicle coming towards you in your rearview mirror. Or, worse, a vehicle rams into you out of nowhere, with no notice and no opportunity to avoid it. Rear-end collisions are frightening and often lead to serious, life-changing injuries that can have a significant impact on victims and their families.

Rear-end collision statistics

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car crashes. They are also very dangerous. These accidents most often occur when one vehicle is stationary and the other is moving at high speed. Due to the nature of these accidents, victims rarely have the opportunity to take evasive maneuvers or prepare for impact.

According to a study, rear-end collisions account for around 29 percent of all traffic accidents that lead to serious injuries. Statistics from the Insurance Information Institute show that rear-end collisions are responsible for more than seven percent of all traffic-related deaths and nearly 20 percent of all two-vehicle collision deaths.

As with many other types of Pennsylvania car crashes, a rear-end collision is often the result of driver negligence. In most cases the driver who left the other car is responsible. However, this is not always the case.

Defect determination in rear-end collisions

All drivers have a duty of care to others on the road to operate their car safely. While the exact nature of a driver’s duty will vary depending on traffic and weather conditions, the basic principle is that they must obey all traffic rules and use good judgment while driving. When looking at most rear-end collisions, it is not surprising that in most cases it is the driver who hits the other vehicle who is to blame. For example, here are four common scenarios:

  1. A driver slams into another car on the freeway, slowing down for the traffic ahead.

  2. A driver goes unnoticed that another car has turned on its turn signals and slams into the car when it slows to turn.

  3. A driver plans to speed through a changing traffic signal and does not expect the car in front of them to stop. or

  4. A driver assumes that as soon as the light turns green and accelerates into the rear of the vehicle, the car in front of them will start moving.

In any of these situations, the driver coming from behind is likely the one to blame. However, there are some scenarios where both drivers share the blame for a rear-end collision.

For example, consider the following examples:

  • The leading driver suddenly applies the brakes for no apparent reason.

  • The leading driver reverses his vehicle in a lane.

  • The brake lights of the leading driver’s vehicle are not working. or

  • The leading driver does not use a blinker when slowing down to turn a corner.

In each of these cases it is not the case that the rear driver is not responsible at all, but that the leading driver can share responsibility for the accident. This can have a considerable impact on the victim’s later accident.

Comparative error in rear-end collisions in Pennsylvania

As stated above, some rear-end crashes are solely the fault of the rear-end driver. In these cases, the victim can file personal injury against the other driver and request compensation for their injuries.

In shared responsibility situations, the victim can still file a lawsuit against the other driver. However, the total amount of damage that you can claim is reduced by your percentage fault. For example, let’s say that John left Terry behind and that John was 70 percent and Terry 30 percent to blame. If Terry’s damage was $ 200,000, he would claim a total of $ 140,000, which is the amount of his total damage minus 30 percent.

© 2020 by Console and Associates. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 26