Many Pennsylvania drivers fear that if they fail to break and hit another vehicle in front of them, they will automatically be responsible for the accident. Determining liability in these types of situations is often more nuanced, and it can be helpful for drivers to understand the many factors to consider when negligence is determined.
There are multiple reasons a vehicle may fail to break. It may simply be due to driver error or distracted driving, but it could also be due to mechanical failure, improper maintenance or a defect. If a crash was simply driver error, then the driver is likely to be primarily if not entirely at fault, but if the brakes themselves failed, many other parties may be partially liable. For example, if the vehicle's braking system was defective, the manufacturer may be liable. If the vehicle was recently serviced, and the maintenance was done improperly, then the mechanic could be liable.
A collision is also not always the fault of the braking driver. There are many situations in which a driver may attempt to brake, but cannot stop in time because another driver was being unsafe or illegal. For example, if a car pulls out in front of another car, resulting in a crash, then it is likely both drivers will share liability.
Determining liability in rear end car accidents is not always cut and dried. Although in the majority of instances the following driver is responsible, this is not always the case. An attorney representing an injured occupant of the vehicle that was hit from behind will review a variety of evidence in order to pinpoint financial responsibility.