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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Been involved in a traffic accident? Discuss traffic laws here

Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby wakeley58 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:18 pm

I know each state is different. I live in Pennsylvania and I have been told that NO MATTER WHAT, whoever did the rear ending is at fault. But, yesterday my cousins and I almost got into an accident. We were driving on this slightly winding mountain road going 60 mph(speed limit 55). Out of nowhere, a car makes a left hand turn , cutting us off. My cousin had to stomp on her brakes and we were skidding along practically toughing the car. My cousin insisted that it would have been her fault since she would have rear ended him. I argued no, because he cut us off and did not yield. I thought the law is because if you are following a car at a safe distance, you should have plenty of time to stop.

Tonight, my cousin got impatient at a traffic light and put her parking brake on (it was night time). I told her she shouldn't do that because then her brake lights go out and someone could run into her thinking she wasn't stopped. She said "well it would be their fault because NO MATTER WHAT, in Pa...blah blah blah! Ok...so who is right? :/
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby charlot22 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:20 pm

None of the answers above are correct. There are many scenarios where you can be rear ended and still be at fault. The classic insurance scam is where the car in the lane next to you, going much slower than you, suddenly jumps into your lane and is struck by your car. In this scenario you would have no fault at all unless you were considerably above the posted speed limit.

In the first incident you describe, the car making the left turn is at fault. He is crossing your path so he must yield to oncoming traffic. However, if he could not see you coming sooner because you had just crested a hill or rounded a curve then you may have some fault because of your excessive speed. When you say "out of nowhere" it makes it sound like this is what happened.

In the second incident you describe, your cousin is correct. She is stopped in the middle of the road. Lights or no lights, people are expected to not strike objects in the road. It is your responsibility as a driver to look where you are going and to avoid any obstacles in your path. There are no lights on pedestrians, animals, or things that fall off the back of trucks. If you can miss seeing something as large as a car then you aren't qualified to have a driver license. The brake lights will make it easier for others to see her car but the lack of lights does not relieve other drivers of their responsibility to pay attention and look where they are going. You are also correct here because it is stupid to not have the lights on. If you get hit it won't be your fault but you will be hurt as much as the people in the car that hits you so why take the chance?
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby denzell » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:35 pm

"Out of nowhere..."

That right there is your problem. Cars don't come out of nowhere. They come out of somewhere. Be aware of what's going on, and not just in your lane of traffic.
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby chason58 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:40 pm

I think you'd have a case since the person was turning into traffic. They must always yield to oncoming traffic which it sounds they did not.
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby abisha » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:44 pm

99 percent of the time the person that gets rear-ended will not be at fault...
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby slaine » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:48 pm

No matter what it'sALWAYS the person in the backs fault
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby stein74 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:52 pm

one in back will be at fault
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby wattekinson86 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:54 pm

Correct, in general, EXCEPT for a case of malfunction in either vehicle that the driver has no control over. For example, if your brake lights do not work and someone collides with you as a result when you apply your brakes, they are NOT at fault for the collision, YOU are, because YOUR brake lights malfunctioned which gave the following driver no warning or opportunity to take evasive action. If there is no police report or investigation, then it IS the following driver held at fault. In the case of the brake lights, to shift blame from the following driver, there has to be an investigation that proves the brake lights did not work.
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Who is at fault in a rear end car accident?

Postby jabin20 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:01 pm

Fact is, when you hit someone in the back, it's almost always your fault. The law says you must leave enough room to stop in case of an emergency.
The first incident you describe is not about hitting someone in the back.
As far as keeping your foot on the brake at a traffic light, I don't recall ever seeing that rule in any driving manual. I have a stick shift car, and if I'm stopped at a light on a level road, there's no need to sit there with my foot on the brake if the car is not moving. If however I'm the last car in line and I see a car approaching me from behind, I tap the brakes so that there's no doubt about the fact that I'm stopped in a line of traffic.
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