LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Gladys E. Wiles | Jan 16, 2013

Anatomy of a Rear-End Car Accident.

Distracted Drivers Are The Most Common Cause of Accidents.

Disecting the Personal Injury Case. The Rear-End Accident:

One of the most common types of accident cases is when one car strikes another from behind, commonly called the rear-end accident. At Snyder & Wiles, When we pursue an injured client's case in a rear-end accident, proving liability on the part of the defendant is usually pretty easy.

It goes like this - Our client stopped and the defendant did not stop. The accident happened, our client was injured and is entitled to be compensated for damages sustained. Sounds easy, but sometimes it may be complex. Here's why:

Part of the proof personal injury lawyers use against the defendant is the Section 3361 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Law, which is titled "Driving a Vehicle at Safe Speed", requires a driver to drive at a speed no greater than that which would allow the driver to stop with the “assured clear distance."

Pennsylvania court have defined assured clear distance as:

In Levey v. DeNardo, 555 Pa. 514, 725 A.2d 733 (1999), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that the fundamentals of both the assured clear distance ahead rule requires a motorist to be capable of bringing his or her vehicle to a stop within the distance that he or she can clearly see. The rule is not, however, necessarily violated in every instance where a motorist is unable to safely bring his or her vehicle to a stop.

The assured clear distance ahead rule as codified in the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3361 specifically provides: No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, nor at a speed greater than will permit the driver to bring his vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead. Consistent with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a safe and appropriate speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

“Assured clear distance ahead" means only what it says: a clear distance that is assured, that is, one that can reasonably be depended on. The rule does not mean that the motorist must carry in his mind every possible series of combinations which could conspire against him, and that he must transport ready-made solutions to overcome all fortuitous hazards which suddenly face him. Assured does not mean guaranteed. Fleischman v. City of Reading, 388 Pa. 183, 130 A.2d 429, 431 (1957).

The assured clear distance ahead rule has never been interpreted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as imposing a duty upon a driver to anticipate any and all possible occurrences, however remote. Rather, a driver is required to anticipate only that which is reasonable. In short, the assured clear distance ahead rule simply requires a driver to control the speed of his or her vehicle so that he or she will be able to stop within the distance of whatever may reasonably be expected to be within the driver's path.

Sometimes this is simple and sometimes its complex! Personal Injury Attorneys are always capable of handling these types of complexity.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your car accident or personal injury case, contact us, the Personal Injury Attorneys at Snyder & Wiles, PC today at 610-391-9500.

Additional resources provided by the author

The following site contains the PA motor vehicle code. http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/vehicle_code/chapter33.pdf

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