Is The Person in the Back Always at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

Is The Person in the Back Always at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

Is the person in the back always at fault in a rear-end collision? Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of motor vehicle accidents that happen in Pennsylvania. In most rear-end collisions, the rear driver will be at fault for causing the accident because of his or her negligence. However, liability is not automatically assigned to the rear driver. In some cases, the front driver may be solely or partially at fault for causing the rear-end collision. At DiCindio Law, we can help you to determine who is at fault in a rear-end collision and explain the merits of your potential accident claim.

Negligence in a rear-end collision

To recover damages after a rear-end collision, you will need to prove that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident. The concept of negligence is based on the idea that everyone is expected to conduct themselves in a manner that keeps the best interests of others in mind. When someone fails in this duty and the violation of the duty causes an accident and injuries, they are considered to have acted negligently.

Proving negligence in a rear-end collision requires you to prove each of the legal elements that constitute a negligence cause of action by a preponderance of the evidence. The elements of negligence include the following:

  • The defendant had a duty of care that he or she owed to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant’s actions violated the duty of care.
  • The violation of the duty of care directly or proximately caused the accident and injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered actual harm as a result.

All motorists are considered to have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and carefully, which makes proving the first element of negligence fairly simple in most cases. After proving that the duty existed, you will then need to prove that the defendant’s actions violated the duty of care. Motorists can breach the duty of care in many different ways, including the following:

  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for the conditions
  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Inattentive driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Failing to properly repair and maintain the vehicle
  • Unsafe lane changes

If a driver violated traffic laws, it can help to prove that a breach of the duty of care occurred. However, you must still prove that the violation was the direct or proximate cause of your accident and injuries. For example, if the other driver was texting on his or her cell phone and slammed into the rear of your vehicle, the causation of your accident and injuries will be fairly easy to prove. However, if the driver violated an unrelated traffic law such as failing to wear his or her seatbelt, it will not be useful for proving causation. Finally, even if you prove that a breach occurred and that it caused your accident, you will still need to prove that you suffered actual harm. If you were not injured, you will not be able to recover damages in a personal injury action.

Determining fault in a rear-end collision

In most cases, people will assume that the rear drivers are at fault in rear-end collisions because they failed to follow at a safe distance so that they could stop in time. While this is true in many cases, there are some situations in which the front driver will be partially at fault or wholly at fault. For example, if someone is driving on a dark, rural road at night without functioning taillights and is rear-ended by someone who could not see his or her vehicle, the front driver will likely be found to be at fault for the accident. Similarly, if the front driver suddenly changed lanes directly in front of the rear driver’s car, causing the rear vehicle to collide with the front car’s back end, the front driver will likely be found to be at fault.

Front drivers may also share some of the fault in some cases. For example, if a driver suddenly stops to turn left but does not execute the turn, both drivers may share liability for the accident. Drivers whose vehicles suffer malfunctions and who fail to turn on their hazard lights might also be found to be partly to blame for their accidents. In those types of situations, the jury will determine the percentage of fault to attribute to each driver.

Understanding comparative negligence

In rear-end collisions in which both drivers shared fault, both will have varying degrees of negligence for the accidents. Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, plaintiffs who share some of the fault for their accidents are not barred from recovering damages as long as their degree of fault does not exceed the fault attributed to the other drivers. Their damages will be reduced by a percentage equal to the percentage of fault that is attributed to them.

For example, if you are awarded $100,000 by a jury that finds that you were 30% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 30% for a net recovery amount of $70,000. However, if your fault is determined to be 51%, you will not be able to recover any damages for your losses.

In some rear-end accidents, more than one party might be liable. In those cases, the jury will determine the percentage of fault held by each of the liable parties. Each party will then be responsible for paying the percentage of damages assigned to him or her.

Get help from an experienced accident attorney

Being injured in a rear-end accident might leave you facing mounting medical expenses, losses of income, and other losses. If your accident was caused by the negligence of someone else, you may be able to recover damages for your losses. An experienced lawyer can help you to determine liability for your accident so that you can understand whether your claim has merits. Contact an attorney at DiCindio Law today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

What injuries can happen in a car accident?

What injuries can happen in a car accident?

What injuries can happen in a car accident? Many people in Pennsylvania are injured each year in car accidents. Nearly any type of injury can be caused by a car accident. Motor vehicle accident injuries can range from minor injuries to severe or fatal injuries. Generally, motor vehicle injuries can be divided into penetrating or impact injuries. Penetrating injuries occur when a victim’s body is penetrated by an object during the collision. Impact injuries happen when the victim strikes part of the vehicle. Some injuries are more minor and can be resolved naturally or through a course of treatment while others may require the victims to undergo extensive medical procedures. Unfortunately, some car accident injuries may cause the victims to suffer lifelong disabilities. All of these factors influence the compensation that a car accident victim might recover in a car accident claim.

The types of injuries that are suffered by a victim may be affected by the mechanics of the accident and its type. For example, the direction that the victim was facing relative to the direction of the impact can make a large difference. The speed of the collision and whether the victim was using a seatbelt and had functioning airbags are also important. When a victim fails to use proper safety precautions, it can cause a reduction of the recoverable damages because of the principle of modified comparative negligence. At DiCindio Law, we can help you to understand the potential value of your claim based on your injuries and the other relevant factors. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that happen in car accidents.

Traumatic brain injuries

Many people suffer from traumatic brain injuries when they strike their heads during a collision. These types of injuries can range from mild to severe injuries. The severity of a TBI might depend on the person and where his or her head was positioned as related to the point of impact. While minor traumatic brain injuries might resolve over a few weeks, serious TBIs can cause lifelong disabilities or be life-threatening.

For example, in a low-speed crash, a victim’s head might hit the window or steering wheel, causing a minor concussion that can resolve naturally with bedrest over a period of weeks. By contrast, a high-speed collision or a wreck that cause a vehicle to overturn can result in severe TBIs and permanent brain damage.

It can be difficult to diagnose traumatic brain injuries. If you suspect that you might have suffered a TBI in a car accident, you should seek prompt medical attention to ensure that you can receive any treatment that you might need.

Fractures

Fractures are common car accident injuries. Bones break when the force that is applied to a bone is stronger than the bone itself. Bone fractures can be simple or compound. In a simple fracture, the bone is broken without leaving an open wound. A compound fracture occurs when the bone penetrates the skin, leaving an open wound.

People are normally immediately aware that they have suffered fractures. If you break a bone in a car crash, you may be unable to move the part of the body that is fractured without extreme pain. When you see a doctor, he or she will be able to quickly diagnose a fracture and provide the necessary treatment.

Back and spinal cord injuries

Injuries to the spinal column are common in serious car accidents. If the spinal cord injury is severe, paralysis can result. Back injuries such as herniated or ruptured discs can also occur. Back injuries may not be immediately obvious. Instead, people might experience pain from herniated discs that show up after several days. Any time a spinal cord injury is suspected, the victim should be taken to the hospital immediately. in some cases, it is possible to treat the spinal cord injury in time to prevent permanent paralysis.

Whiplash

Whiplash is a very common type of injury in a car accident. This type of injury is especially common in rear-end collisions. People in the front vehicle may suffer whiplash injuries when their necks and heads are violently thrown forward and then overextend backward before returning to the normal position. The violent back-and-forth movement can cause injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck and shoulders. Some of the symptoms of whiplash include headaches, stiffness, a reduced range of motion, pain, and nausea.

People might not experience pain from whiplash injuries until a few days after their accidents. Most cases of whiplash resolve after a few weeks. However, in serious whiplash cases, people may experience ongoing pain for months or years.

Psychological and emotional injuries

While people might not immediately think about psychological or emotional injuries in car accidents, they can occur after experiencing traumatic incidents. Some people might develop post-traumatic stress disorder when they are involved in serious accidents in which others are severely injured. Others may develop a phobia of driving or develop major depression if the accident caused fatalities or severe injuries to other passengers.

What to do after you have been injured in a car accident

Knowing the most common types of injuries that can result in car crashes can help you to understand what steps you should take after an accident. An important takeaway is that you should always seek immediate medical attention after an accident even if you are unsure that you are injured. Some injuries might not evince symptoms for hours or days, and seeking early treatment can help to improve your prognosis.

Getting prompt treatment after an accident can also help you to show a clear link between your injuries and the accident. This is important for helping you to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.

Get help from DiCindio Law

Being involved in a car accident can be a terrifying experience. If you have been injured because of the negligent actions of a driver, you may be entitled to recover damages. An attorney at DiCindio Law can help you to evaluate your potential claim. Contact us today at 610.430.3535.

Who Is At Fault In a Head-On Collision?

Who Is At Fault In a Head-On Collision?

Who is at fault in a head-on collision? Head-on collisions are the most dangerous types of motor vehicle accidents that happen in Pennsylvania. Because both vehicles are traveling toward each other at the time of the impact, the physical forces that are released are much more severe and are much likelier to cause fatalities and catastrophic injuries. After a head-on collision has occurred, determining who was at fault is critical. Liability in this type of collision depends on determining whether one or both drivers were negligent. In a head-on collision, negligence might include drunk driving, failing to yield, distracted driving, drowsy driving, or other similar actions. Drivers who are at fault for a head-on collision may be liable to any injured victims and the families of people who are killed. If the at-fault driver is killed in the crash, his or her estate will be liable. At DiCindio Law, we understand the devastation that head-on collisions frequently cause and work aggressively to advocate for our clients.

What is fault in a head-on accident?

Fault in a head-on accident is determined by looking at the actions of both drivers to determine if either or both were negligent. In an accident, negligence can happen in multiple ways and can depend on whether either driver was engaging in the following types of poor driving behavior:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Inattentive driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Unsafe passing
  • Driving an unsafe vehicle
  • Racing
  • Aggressive driving
  • Failing to yield

Drivers who are at fault in causing an accident are generally liable to pay damages to the victims. In some cases, a jury will determine that one driver was negligent and is solely responsible for paying damages. In others, the jury might determine that both parties shared responsibility. In that situation, the plaintiff will still be able to recover damages as long as his or her degree of fault is less than that of the defendant.

Damages in a head-on accident claim

People who are injured in a head-on accident and the families of people who are killed may be entitled to recover damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company by filing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Through a lawsuit, the plaintiffs might recover compensatory damages for their economic and non-economic losses. Some of the types of damages that might be available include the following:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Wage losses
  • Future reduction in the ability to earn an income
  • Burial and funeral expenses in wrongful death claims
  • Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death claims
  • Property losses
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Grief
  • Disability
  • Loss of the enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of consortium and guidance

Some head-on collisions might also allow plaintiffs to seek punitive damages. These are damages that are designed to punish defendants for their wrongful conduct and are only available in situations in which the defendants acted in especially egregious ways.

Determining fault in a head-on collision

As previously mentioned, fault in a head-on collision is based on negligence. To prevail in a claim, a plaintiff must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant’s actions violated the duty of care.
  • The violation of the duty of care was a direct or proximate cause of the plaintiff’s accident and injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered actual harm as a result.

All drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and reasonably. This makes proving the duty existed fairly simple. Demonstrating that the driver breached the duty of care means showing that the driver engaged in some type of action that fell below the standard of care. For example, a driver who violated a traffic law such as pulling out to pass up a hill just before colliding head-on into another vehicle cresting the hill could be shown to have violated the duty of care. After proving the first two elements, a plaintiff will have to show that the violation of the duty of care directly or proximately caused the accident and the injuries. Finally, the plaintiff will have to prove damages to recover compensation in a lawsuit.

Injuries in a head-on collision

Head-on accidents cause the greatest number of fatalities out of the different types of motor vehicle accidents. They also cause a great number of catastrophic injuries. Some of the types of injuries that commonly occur in head-on collisions include the following:

  • Amputations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Organ damage
  • Multiple fractures
  • Burn injuries
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Death

Why it is important to hire an attorney after a head-on collision

Many people wrongly believe that their insurance companies will take care of everything for them after they are seriously injured in head-on collisions. However, insurance companies are in business to make profits. One of the ways that they can increase their profits is by minimizing the amounts that they have to pay in claims. In head-on collisions, the medical expenses are frequently substantial because of the severity of the injuries. This means that large amounts of money might be involved in the claims. Insurance companies aggressively fight against claims that involve a substantial sum of money.

When you hire an experienced car accident lawyer after being injured in a head-on collision, you will have someone who understands the tactics that insurance companies commonly use to minimize liability. Your attorney can advocate on your behalf and deal with all of the aspects of your claim so that you can concentrate on your recovery.

If you are contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you should not agree to give a statement or to sign any documents that might be sent to you. Instead, simply tell the company that you want to talk to an attorney before you will discuss or sign anything. Your lawyer can take over the communication with the company for you. To schedule a free consultation with DiCindio Law, call us today at 610.430.3535.

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office building.

Located in downtown West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania and built in 1900 – the firm’s building has undergone a top to bottom renovation/restoration with the idea of preserving and repairing the building to the beauty it once was and providing Mike’s client’s with a comfortable and accessible office location and atmosphere.

Mike DiCindio looks forward to continuing to serve his current and future client’s for years to come at this new location.

West Chester Criminal Lawyer and West Chester Personal Injury Lawyer

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Limited Tort and Full Tort

Under Pennsylvania law, there are two main types of insurance coverage for motor vehicles.  First, is called “limited tort” and the second “full tort.”  The main difference between limited tort and full tort is that when one has a limited tort policy, if they are injured in a car accident by the negligence of another person they are only entitled to recover for economic damages (i.e. – out of pocket expenses).  Under a full tort policy one injured in the same manner would be able to recover non-economic damages (i.e. – pain and suffering, etc.). While full tort policies are typically more expensive it is obvious why you may wish to pay the higher premium for this coverage in the event of a car accident.

Car Accident Attorney West Chester

Car Accident Attorney West Chester

While an individual cannot seek recovery for non-economic damages for injuries suffered in a car accident under a limited tort policy the law permits them to do so in the event that the injury they suffered was falls within the definition of “serious injury.”  The law defines serious injury as injuries of one or more impaired body functions; and whether that impairment of a body function was serious.  In determining whether the impairment of a body function was “serious” there are factors that are to be considered such as the extent of the impairment, the particular body function impaired, the length of time the impairment lasted, the treatment required to correct the impairment, and any other relevant factors.

It is important to hire a skilled and experienced personal injury/car accident attorney when you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident.  Contact Mike DiCindio and DiCindio Law, LLC to discuss your case today.