One of the most common types of Philadelphia car accidents is a rear-end accident. Some rear-end accidents result in minor injuries. For instance, 2 vehicles are stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green. When the light turns green, the driver in the first vehicle does not move. The car behind the first vehicle starts to go and taps the car in front. In this situation, the driver and/or passengers in the first vehicle probably did not sustain any injuries because the car was just tapped from behind at a very low speed.
However, when rear-end accidents happen at a high speed, serious and even fatal accidents may happen. This is especially true for Pennsylvania highway accidents on Interstate 95, the PA Turnpike and Interstate 76, also known as the Schuylkill Expressway.
Oftentimes, investigating police officers will issue citations to at-fault drivers for following too closely. PA law (75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3310) states:
(a) General rule.--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.
What is “more closely than is reasonable and prudent?” The PennDOT driver’s manual provides that a safe following distance is 4 seconds when the pavement is dry.
To help drivers determine a safe following distance, the driver’s manual suggests that drivers watch the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead. When the bumper passes a road marking or an object, the driver should start counting how many seconds it takes to reach the same spot on the road. If the driver passes the marking or object in less than 4 seconds, they are following too closely.
Another citation at-fault drivers may receive after rear-end accidents is driving too fast for the conditions. For instance, even though the speed limit on Interstate 95 is 55 mph, drivers need to slow down when it is raining.
Injured victims of rear-end accidents may be able to financially recover from the at-fault or negligent drivers. However, whether injured victims may sue is dependent on the extent of their injuries and what type of coverage they have on their auto insurance policies, i.e., limited tort or full tort.
For a detailed discussion on limited tort and full tort, see Pennsylvania's Limited Tort - When You Can Sue For Pain And Suffering
If you were injured in a rear-end accident on a PA highway or other roadways, call Daniel J. O’Brien to discuss your legal rights. Mr. O’Brien always offers FREE consultations. 877.944.8396