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Who is At Fault for A Rear End Accident?

It surprises many people to learn that it is possible in Maryland to cause another vehicle to rear-end you. Of course, the prevailing view is that the following driver has an absolute obligation to:

  • control his or her vehicle
  • not follow too closely
  • be aware of the actions of the vehicle[s] in front of them
  • conform their actions so as not to cause a collision.

Moreover, there is a presumption under Maryland law that the driver of a vehicle striking from behind is presumptively at fault unless there is evidence they were not negligent

So, of course, it surprises many people to learn that it is actually possible under Maryland law to cause someone to strike your vehicle from behind, or at least contribute to the event.

If the actions of the front driver are determined to be sufficiently culpable conduct, complete responsibility is shifted from the vehicle striking from behind, and the situation is transformed into one of shared responsibility. The difference-maker is between primary and contributory negligence. The primarily negligent actor is responsible for the consequences of his or her actions, in the absence of contributory negligence or another valid defense. A contributorily negligent actor might not bear complete responsibility for the accident, but is found to be ‘somewhat’ at fault, and is precluded from recovery, even when hit from the rear.  

Eric T Kirk

After graduating with honors from Albany Law School in New York, Eric Kirk has spent most of his 25 year legal career battling insurance companies to secure fair and just compensation for his clients in Maryland, New York, and Florida.