Are You Automatically at Fault if You Rear-End Someone in Maryland?

Are You Automatically at Fault if You Rear-End Someone in Maryland?

Rear-end accidents are more common than other types of wrecks in Maryland. Common causes include tailgating, excess speed, distracted driving, and failing to react quickly enough to traffic that slows down ahead.

Drivers who cause rear-enders are usually to blame for the wreck. That’s not to say you are automatically at fault if you rear-end someone in Maryland.

In the blog, Maryland car accident lawyer Randolph Rice considers blame for rear-end accidents in Maryland. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Maryland injury team if you were involved in a crash in the state. 

What Are Rear-End Wrecks in Maryland?

A rear-end collision, also called a rear-ender, is a crash in which a car, truck, van, bus, motorcycle, or another vehicle crashes into the back of a vehicle in front.

Typically, the injuries sustained in rear-end wrecks in Maryland are less acute than those associated with head-on collisions or T-bone accidents.

However, rear-enders can cause extremely serious injuries and deaths. A lot depends on the speed of the rear-end collision and the vehicles involved. When a heavy tractor-trailer plows into stopped vehicles ahead of it, the consequences are often catastrophic.

Are There Laws if You Rear-End Someone in Maryland?

Maryland’s laws are intended to prevent rear-end accidents. Under Title 21 of the Maryland Vehicle laws, a driver cannot follow another more closely than is reasonable and prudent.

Drivers must consider weather conditions and the speed of other vehicles around them on the road. A Baltimore rear-end collision lawyer could help you better understand those laws. 

How Frequent Are Rear-End Collisions in Maryland?

The Insurance Information Institute points out almost 4.2 million car crashes occur every year. Almost 2 million of the wrecks are rear-end collisions.

A rear-end collision occurs on average every eight seconds in the United States. With the alarming frequency of car accidents, it is important to have a Maryland car accident lawyer to seek help from. 

What Are Common Rear-Ender Scenarios in Maryland?

Rear-end accidents can occur in many different scenarios in Maryland. The causes of rear-enders include:

  • Traffic stops for a red light. A vehicle behind fails to slow down;
  • A driver fails to react to a car stopped to make a turn;
  • Cars crash into each other in foggy conditions;
  • A driver loses control on snow or ice and hits a car ahead
  • Vehicles hit broken down or stopped cars by the side of the road;
  • Drivers fail to slow down for slower traffic ahead in construction zones;
  • Cars hit vehicles that emerge in front of them at intersections;
  • Vehicles strike cars that merge in front of them from a ramp;
  • A driver falls asleep at the wheel and rear-ends a car ahead;
  • A distracted driver fails to realize traffic has slowed down or stopped ahead;
  • A tailgating driver does not have enough time to react when the driver in front slows down unexpectedly;
  • A car breaks down on the road, causing the vehicle behind it to crash into it.
  • A vehicle unexpected emerges onto the highway;
  • A driver reverses into traffic.

What Injuries Are Caused by Rear-End Accidents in Maryland?

Rear-end accidents often cause neck injuries. The neck is very fragile and contains a complex network of nerves, discs, and bones. Rear-end accidents often cause whiplash.

The medical term for these injuries is cervical hyperextension and hyperflexion to the soft tissue around the spine. The ability of the neck to move in all directions means it’s particularly vulnerable to the pressures of a car crash. 

Other common rear-end accidents include knee injuries, fractures, shoulder injuries, spinal cord injuries, and shoulder injuries. Herniated discs are also associated with car accidents.

Collisions can damage the rubbery discs between the spinal bones and cause the jelly-like substance inside them to push through a crack in the tougher exterior casing.

The deformed disk can push on nerves and cause extreme pain. Some herniated discs require surgery, but many heal on their own.

Rear-end accidents can also cause serious spinal injuries, fractures, brain injuries, and other life-threatening conditions. 

Are You Automatically at Fault If You Rear-End Someone in Maryland?

Many people assume the driver who rear-ended a car on the highway is automatically at fault for injuries to the occupants and damage to the car.

This is not always the case. However, if you crash into a car in front of you, it’s tricky to prove you were not at least partially to blame for an accident.

Maryland has a strict contributory negligence law that penalizes drivers who are to any degree at fault for a wreck. You are unable to receive compensation if you share the blame for the wreck in MD.

Every driver must follow other vehicles at a safe distance. Drivers habitually stop suddenly and unexpectedly. They slow down to avoid a hazard in the road or simply due to traffic congestion.

Drivers should keep enough distance between themselves and the car in front of them to prevent a collision. However, the driver of the car that stops may be at fault in certain circumstances.

Drivers are not automatically at fault if they rear-end someone in Maryland in the following circumstances:

  • A driver reverses suddenly in front of you;
  • A driver slows down suddenly and unexpectedly, and its brake lights are not working;
  • A motorist stops suddenly to make a turn and fails to make the turn;
  • A driver gets a flat tire but fails to pull over and does not put on the vehicle’s hazard lights.
  • A vehicle suddenly pulls in front of you from a side road without yielding, and you slam into it from behind.
  • A drunk driver slams on his brakes in front of you for no reason, and you hit the car.

It’s always tough to make an insurance claim against the driver of a car you hit. The insurance company for the driver you ran into will likely claim you followed too closely before the wreck, or you should have had time to stop.

Although the driver of a car that stopped suddenly would likely be at fault, the other driver faces a real challenge to show he or she was not also partly to blame for the crash.

Who is At Fault in a Three-Way Accident?

Some rear-end accidents are complicated. For example, a three-way accident can involve one car that hits the back of another and sends the second car crashing into a third vehicle.

In many cases, the driver of the vehicle that caused the first wreck will be held liable for the chain-reaction crash. However, the second driver could have been speeding or failing to obey the rules of the road. The courts might assign each driver a share of the blame. 

In a multiple-vehicle accident, determining blame is challenging. If all drivers were negligent, none of them would be able to successfully claim.

Ask an Injury Lawyer About Fault if You Rear-End Someone in Maryland

Rear-enders occur every hour on the streets of Maryland. Drivers and passengers suffer serious hurt from neck injuries, head injuries, and fractures.

If you or a family member ended up injured in a rear-end collision, please talk to the Maryland personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras. It’s important to seek out a meeting to get specific legal advice on your case. Please contact our auto accident team at (410) 694-7291.