Determining Liability in a Rear-End Accident

It is a common misconception that fault in a rear-end collision lies solely with the driver that crashed into the back end of the car in front. However, that is not always the case. Occurring more often than any other type of traffic accident, rear-end crashes account for nearly 30 percent of all motor vehicle accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While a great majority of these accidents will be blamed on the vehicle that crashes into the back of a vehicle in its path, there are some cases in which the driver of the car in front may be at-fault.

Shared Liability

Certain instances in which the driver of the leading car may be at-fault include:

  • The leading driver signals a turn, but does not execute the turn
  • The leading driver reverses unexpectedly
  • The leading car’s brake lights do not work
  • The leading driver does not engage hazard lights while experiencing mechanical trouble


The concept of liability comes down to which driver was negligent. Proving negligence amounts to a breach of duty that caused an accident, resulting in damages. All drivers have a duty to behave responsibly while operating their vehicles. A breach of that duty exists when a driver behaves in a way that falls short of the common legal standard of how a reasonable person would have acted in the same situation.

Partial Liability

In cases where both drivers are partially at-fault, state laws regarding negligence affect the possibility for collecting damages. Depending in what state the accident happened, different laws may apply. Some states recognize contributory negligence, which contends that any negligence on the part of the injured party bars them from collecting damages in connection with the accident.

Alternatively, states that recognize comparative negligence, including Pennsylvania, allow injured parties to seek damages, but reduce their ability to collect compensation by their portion of liability. For example, if a person suffered $10,000 in injuries, but was found to be 25 percent at-fault for the accident, comparative negligence laws would only allow them to collect $7,500 in damages.

Bucks County Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Assist Injured Victims with Car Accident Claims

If you were injured in a rear-end accident, you may be eligible to collect damages for your injuries. The Bucks County accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. can help you recover compensation to help pay for your medical expenses or other costs, including possible compensation for pain and suffering. Contact us online or call us at 888-999-1962 to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent accident victims throughout Pennsylvania.