Under Maryland case law, courts will impose a presumption of negligence on a rear driver in cases where that driver strikes a vehicle that is stopped in front of them. The presumption allows the fact-finder (either the judge or the jury) to infer that the driver of the rear vehicle was negligent. Maryland rear-end collisions and “fender bender” accidents are the most frequently occurring type of collision in the state. Despite the rate of occurrence, these accidents can result in serious physical and property damage.
Accident reconstructionists explain that rear-ending a stopped vehicle can be the equivalent of hitting a concrete wall at half the speed the moving car was traveling. In an effort to reduce the severity of these accidents, Maryland traffic law § 21-310(a)(2005 mandates that motorists should not follow another vehicle more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” Further, the statute explains that motorists should have regard for the speed of the vehicles around them and the highway’s condition.
Although the law permits the presumption of negligence in a rear-end accident, there are some cases where the accident was not the rear driver’s fault. For example, a recent news report described a motorcycle collision where it is unclear who was at fault. The preliminary investigation revealed that a motorcycle driver was traveling north when he hit the back of a sedan. The motorcyclist died at the accident scene, and the sedan driver and passenger did not suffer any injuries. Police state that an investigation of the accident is continuing.
Rear-end drivers can rebut the presumption of negligence if they can establish that the front driver was negligent. Rear-end drivers may present evidence that the front motorist suddenly or unsafely stopped or provide evidence that the front driver was stopped illegally on the road.
Rebutting the presumption is a critical portion of a Maryland rear-end case for both the front and rear driver. The state’s strict contributory negligence laws prohibit the plaintiff’s recovery if they were at all responsible for the accident. In terms of a rear-end accident, if the back driver establishes even the slightest amount of negligence on the part of the front driver, the front driver may not be able to recover. Similarly, if a rear-end driver overcomes the presumption, they will still need to refute any claims of contributory negligence.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Rear-End Motorcycle Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Maryland motorcycle accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. The Maryland attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience successfully representing clients in their claims for damages against negligent parties. We handle accident claims related to Maryland motorcycle accidents and other motor vehicle collisions, medical negligence, premises liability, and wrongful death. Our attorneys consistently provide clients with compassion, respect, and zealous advocacy on their behalf. Through our dedicated team of attorneys, many Marylanders have successfully recovered damages following an accident. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation with a top-rated Maryland attorney on our team.