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Philadelphia, PA Rear-End Car Accidents - Who Is At Fault?

One of the most common types of car accidents in Philadelphia and the suburbs of Pennsylvania is a rear-end car accident.  Rear-end accidents can be minor, and they can also be catastrophic.  For instance, a car stopped at a red light is hit from behind by a driver who was texting while driving.  Because the car was traveling at a low speed, the car accident was not major and no one was hurt.  However, if the accident was on a highway, such as I-95, the accident could be catastrophic because the driver from behind would be driving at a high rate of speed.

Pursuant to Pennsylvania car accident law, a driver who hits another driver from behind is generally at fault.  According to Pennsylvania’s Rules of the Road, section 3310, a driver should not follow too closely and leave a safe distance between the driver’s car and the car head.  It provides:

(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.

Thus, a driver is supposed to leave enough distance between his car and a car ahead in order to be able to stop safely and avoid a rear-end crash. 

However, there are situations where the driver in front may also be at fault. For example, a lead car may suddenly stop for no reason, and the brake lights are broken.  Therefore, the driver behind has no indication that the driver ahead stopped or slowed down and may not be able to avoid the rear-end accident.

Injured victims in PA rear-end accidents have legal rights and may file lawsuits against the at-fault drivers.  Even if the victim is assigned some percentage of fault, so long as it’s less than 51%, his financial award would be reduced according to that percentage.  If the injured driver recovers $100,000 as a result of his car accident lawsuit and is found to be 10% at fault, his award would be reduced to $90,000.

Related: Pennsylvania Negligence Laws

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