Rear End Collisions: Who's Really At Fault?

Rear End Collisions: Who’s Really At Fault?

Rear End Collisions: Who's Really At Fault?

Rear-end collisions are incredibly common. In fact, they are the third most common, coming in just behind t-bone and head-on collisions. In 2020, there were nearly 2,500 fatal rear-end collisions

Unfortunately, not only are these kinds of accidents common, but they can also be the most frustrating to deal with when it comes to liability. It’s not uncommon for there to be an argument over who was at fault in these kinds of collisions.

The person who was rear-ended often claims it was the driver that hit them who is responsible, and the driver who did the rear-ending claims it was the driver in front of them who is to blame. 

This is a very common argument, and as such, we often get clients asking us who is really at fault. Unfortunately, people don’t always like the answer they hear. 

In most cases, it is the driver who rear-ended the car in front of them that is legally considered at fault. However, there are circumstances where this doesn’t always hold true. It can depend on the specifics of the situation and what exactly occurred. 

If you are involved in a rear-end collision and have questions about your claim and who is at fault, the team at Zirkin & Schmerling can help. We will evaluate your case and offer you guidance to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Our Maryland car accident attorneys have years of experience and know what it takes to ensure the right party is held accountable after a rear-end collision. 

What Causes Rear-End Collisions?

The most common cause of rear-end collisions is distracted driving. This could mean the driver who was hit was distracted, or the driver who did the hitting was distracted. And distraction can happen for several reasons, including:

  • Looking in the mirror and not at the road
  • Reaching for something on the floor or in the passenger seat
  • Reaching for something in the back seat
  • Dealing with kids and pets in the back seat
  • Talking to passengers
  • Messing with the radio or GPS
  • Looking at your phone
  • Eating while driving

Other situations that can result in rear-end collisions include:

  • Bumper-to-bumper traffic
  • Cars following too closely to other cars in front of them
  • Slamming on brakes at the last minute
  • Bad weather and slippery roads
  • Speeding
  • Driving while fatigued or intoxicated
  • Backing up without looking

Maryland Rear-End Collision Laws

Maryland traffic code 21-310 states that cars must not follow another car more closely than is considered reasonable. Cars must also be mindful of speed and road conditions when considering a safe and reasonable following distance. 

However, there is another law about reversing that can also play a role in determining fault after a rear-end collision. 

Maryland traffic code 21-1102 states that a driver may not reverse or back up unless they can do so safely without interfering with other traffic and oncoming vehicles. 

Who is Really At Fault After a Rear-End Collision?

So who is the one responsible for a rear-end collision? 

Based on the 21-310 code, the car that hit the one in front of them is likely the one at fault. Even if the driver in front slammed on their brakes suddenly, it is the responsibility of the driver following behind to have left a safe distance between their cars. 

Therefore it is crucial to leave a safe driving distance between you and other cars in front of you, no matter the situation. You never know what could happen, and you are legally required to leave enough space so that you have enough time to react and hit your brakes before hitting the car in front of you. 

However, based on traffic code 21-1102, it could be the driver in front who is to blame if they reversed or backed up when it was not safe to do so. For example, if you are in a parking lot and a driver backs up, causing you to rear-end them, it could be the other driver’s fault for not checking that it was clear and safe for them to reverse. 

Maryland Contributory Negligence Could Affect Your Rear-End Collision Claim

Overall, many situations could lead to a rear-end collision, and it’s almost impossible to say who is at fault without reviewing the evidence and knowing exactly what happened. It’s also worth noting that both drivers can be at fault. 

Maryland follows the standard of contributory negligence. This means that if both the driver in front and the driver that did the rear-ending are found to have acted negligently; neither party can file a claim against the other for damages. 

This is why it is important to work with an attorney when you file a claim for a rear-end collision. To ensure you get the full and fair compensation you deserve, you need to make sure that the other party is held entirely responsible. If they try to claim that you also acted negligently, it could mean you are found partially liable.  

Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers.

If you are confused about who is at fault after a rear-end collision or think you are being falsely accused of being the one responsible, our experienced legal team can assist you. 

At Zirkin and Schmerling Law, we understand the frustration of determining fault after a rear-end collision and will do everything we can to ensure the best possible outcome. We are dedicated to helping our clients get the full and fair compensation they deserve.Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys today.