should we pay for a rear end accident?

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should we pay for a rear end accident?

my daughter was driving along a road w/ a 55 MPH speed limit. She came upon a truck which was driving erractically, speeding up/slowing down, swerving, etc. She was in the process of slowing down to get back from him when he stopped short in front of her. It was dark out. She hit him going about 10mph and both vehicles have minor cosmetic damage. No one was hurt. We would like to settle without insurance, as it would follow my daughter for 5 years. Is she completely hat fautl? There is a police “incident” report, no tickets were issued. Please answer quickly. Thank you.

Asked on May 3, 2009 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

There are two ways of answering.

The lawyer-like answer is you have a duty to report the accident to your insurance company as there is the possibility that the driver will bring a suit against you for personal injuries claimed to have been sustained in the accident and that could be a big deal.

Failing to promptly report, and thus not enabling the insurance company to investigate and hold down its liability, may result in you losing some or all of the benefits of coverage.

In addition there are state laws that require accident reports be timely filed, usually with DMV, depending on the amount of damage. As I am not a PA lawyer I have no idea what your state's laws provide in that regard.

As a practical matter, many folks settle for payment of property damage all the time. As a lawyer I would tell my clients who refused to follow my lawyerly advice to at least make sure they make no admissions and get a general release from the truck's owner, the other driver, any other people in the truck and any passengers in your vehicle.

Finally, even though the driver in the rear is usually negligent, it is possible that the driver up ahead may also be negligent, especially on the facts you describe -- in some states that would preculde his or her right to recover, while in most states dual negligence would reduce the amount of damages the less culpable driver would receive.


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