According to the 2014 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics, roughly 22% of all crashes during 2014 were due to rear-end collisions. In those crashes, 76 people were killed with many more being seriously injured. Even in a low-impact rear-end collision, you can suffer injuries that require long-term medical treatment. Some injuries result in permanent disabilities. Because a car accident, even a minor one, can and do cause serious injuries, it is important to be able to prove fault in a rear-end collision.
Proving Fault in a Harrisburg Rear-end Collision
If you are rear-ended by another driver, the other driver is automatically at fault, right? Wrong.
Car accident injury claims are not that simple, there are instances where you could be charged with being at fault or at least partially at fault for a rear-end collision. For example, if your brake lights are out, a jury could find that you were partially at fault for the rear-end collision. If this is true, your compensation would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the accident under Pennsylvania's comparative negligence law. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault for the crash, you will not be able to recover any compensation for your damages.
Therefore, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced Harrisburg car accident attorney who understands Pennsylvania's comparative negligence laws and the Pennsylvania's rear-end collision laws. There are also steps you can take after a rear-end collision to help your attorney with your personal injury case.
Steps to Take After a Pennsylvania Rear-end Collision
- Take Pictures! We cannot stress how important taking pictures at the scene of a rear-end collision can be when proving fault. It is difficult to argue with the evidence contained in a picture because it captures the accident scene immediately after the crash before the vehicles are moved and things at the crash site change such as road conditions, weather, traffic signals, etc. Having good, clear pictures of the accident scene can help disprove insurance company claims that you are partially at fault for the rear-end collision. If you do not have a camera on your cell phone, place a disposable camera in your glove compartment in case you are involved in a car accident.
- Contact the Police - A police report is not admissible as evidence; however, the information contained in the police report can provide valuable details for your attorney to pursue. The police report may also support your claim that the other driver was at fault.
- Get the Other Driver's Insurance Information. Do not rely on the police report containing accurate information about the other driver. Offer to exchange contact information and insurance information with the other driver. If possible, use your phone to take a picture of the other driver's license, registration, insurance card, and license tag. In return, allow the other driver to do the same. Regardless of how minor your injuries may be, never accept an "under the table" offer to settle a fender bender. You may have injuries that you are unaware of at the accident scene. If you allow the driver to pay you a small amount and drive off, you will likely be responsible for your damages in the future.
- Go to The Doctor! Seek medical attention regardless of the severity of your injury. Neck and back injuries are common in rear-end collisions. The slight pain you feel may not just go away with time. It could be an indication of a much more serious medical condition.
Contact the experienced rear-end accident attorneys of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLP for a free consultation. We can help you recover compensation for your injuries if another driver was at fault for your accident.