Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

In the majority of rear-end collisions, the driver striking the other vehicle from behind is at fault. However, the other driver’s insurance company may allege that the driver in the stricken car was at fault because they stopped short, not giving the other driver adequate time to do the same.

Frequent causes of these collisions include distracted driving, such as texting or speaking on a cellphone, driving under the influence, speeding, or not paying attention when backing up in a driveway or parking lot.

A Pittsburgh personal injury attorney at our firm protects your rights and can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our dedicated attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for those injured due to another party’s negligence or recklessness.

Rear-end collisions

In 2018, 27,958 rear-end collisions occurred in Pennsylvania, with a resulting 80 deaths. Fatal injuries often occur when a larger vehicle, such as a truck or bus, hits a smaller car.

These statistics do not include the many “fender benders” that happen every day– neither driver reported it because there were no injuries or damage to the vehicles.

That is always a mistake. Because of the nature of these injuries—some, like whiplash– do not become apparent for a few days.

Failure to report the accident and seek prompt medical attention means you do not have a claim.

Rear-end accident injuries

Some of these injuries are very serious, and as noted, may prove fatal. The most frequent include:

  • Paralysis
  • Neck injuries
  • Fractures

However, the most common injury overall is rarely fatal but can cause long-term impairment and pain. That is whiplash, or as it is formally known, Cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD).

Whiplash symptoms

It received its nickname because victims find their head and neck jolted back and forth from the impact, like a cracking whip. Victims are usually in the front seat of a car that is rear-ended.

Neck pain and limited mobility are the most common complaints, but other symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea and vomiting

Most whiplash victims recover within several weeks, but for some, it lasts much longer and can interfere with the ability to work or perform normal activities.


Damages, or compensation, for any injuries suffered in a car accident may include:

  • Medical expenses, current, and future
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

If a person dies in a rear-end collision, the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

What to do after a rear-end collision

Besides reporting the accident to the police and undergoing a medical examination, it is crucial to protect yourself as best as possible. In Pennsylvania, the driver in the rear vehicle is usually liable for the crash.

Conventional wisdom is that they should have been following at an appropriate distance, but this may not be the case. So, do not make any statements to the insurance company before obtaining legal advice.

Any innocuous statement made to an insurance company can be used against you. An attorney will help you with your insurance company statement.

Contact us today

If you or a loved one were injured in a rear-end collision due to another driver’s negligence, a Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawyer could help. We offer free consultations, so call or text us today to schedule an appointment or fill out our online contact form.

After evaluating your case, we will advise you of your options. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless we win. Finally, we will make sure your story is told, and your injuries are not minimized.