After a car accident, it is important to determine who is liable for your damages, so you know who to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against. In rear-end collisions, liability tends to belong to the driver of the rear-most vehicle. However, there are some situations where the rear driver may not be liable.

Our experienced car accident lawyers discuss below how liability is determined for rear-end accidents in Maryland. Request a free consultation to discuss your claim with our legal team today.

Maryland Law on Following Other Vehicles

Maryland law states that a driver may not follow another vehicle closer than is reasonable and prudent, while taking into consideration that other vehicle’s speed as well as the traffic volume and condition of the roadway.

This means it is your duty as a driver to follow other vehicles at a safe distance. You must also maintain control over your vehicle to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of you, causing a rear-end accident. When this happens, you may be found liable for the accident and any resulting injuries.

Exceptions to the General Rule

There are some exceptions that occur where the rear vehicle’s driver might not be responsible for a rear-end collision. These situations include when the lead vehicle:

  • Makes a turn from an improper lane
  • Fails to signal a turn or lane change
  • Suddenly comes to a stop without warning
  • Makes a sudden stop for no reason
  • Suddenly backs up
  • Has defective brake lights

Lead-vehicle drivers are responsible for exercising a degree of due care in order to enable themselves to promptly stop for changing traffic signals and other orders to stop, such as for emergency situations. Lead drivers must give the drivers behind them enough notice of their intent to slow down or stop. If a lead driver stops suddenly without warning, he or she may be found liable for a rear-end collision.

Additionally, a driver of a rear vehicle in a rear-end accident may avoid liability for the collision in certain emergency situations, as long as he or she did not create the situation through his or her own conduct. These situations include:

  • Driver medical incapacity
  • Approaching emergency vehicles
  • Inevitable collision with another vehicle
  • Inevitable collision with an animal
  • Vehicle defects

Causes of Rear-End Crashes

Rear-end crashes occur for many different reasons. These types of accidents often happen suddenly, resulting in varying degrees of damage and injury. Common reasons behind rear-end accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving and driver fatigue
  • Texting while driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Poor roadway visibility
  • Vehicle malfunction

Get Legal Help From Our Lawyers Today

If you were injured in a rear-end accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Silver Spring car accident lawyers of Goldberg Finnegan have helped many injury victims pursue legal action and fight to recover maximum compensation.

Find out more about your potential legal options in a free consultation. There is no obligation to work with our firm. However if you do, you pay no upfront fees and only pay us if we recover compensation on your behalf.