Should I go after the driver or the owner of the vehicle when rear ended?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Should I go after the driver or the owner of the vehicle when rear ended?

I was rear ended by a person that had no drivers license, who do I go after to cover
the expenses? I have limited tort and have been doctoring for pain for 2 wks since
the accident. I was stopped at a light and he hit me from behind.

Asked on July 29, 2016 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Why not sue them both? The more people you sue--as long as the suits are valid--the greater your chance of recovering compensation. The driver who rear-ended you is liable, because an at-fault driver is liable for any injuries or damage he causes--and  a driver who rear ends another is almost always considered to have been at fault, since he should have been maintaining a safe following distance and speed, paying attention, etc.
A car owner who lets another use his/her car is responsible for the damages or injuries that person causes when that person is at fault, unless the at fault driver stole the car--a vehicle owner is not liable for the actions of those who take their car without any (even implicit) permission. So unless this car was stolen (which generally means that the owner must have reported it as stolen), the owner may be liable, too.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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