Visitor Question

Can I sue for damages caused by rubbernecking driver?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Chevy Chase, Maryland)

I was going south from the on-ramp onto I270 in Modeste. Traffic was moving at 60-65 mph in the right lane. On the shoulder there were 4-5 SUVs, and then a police car and another small car with detectives looking for drugs. Because the road veered right you could not see the drug bust action until you got past the SUVs.

All traffic before me and including myself slowed to about 5-10 mph to look/rubberneck. I consciously decided as always not to do this and looked strait ahead, when I was struck in the rear of my Honda CRV by an old Ford Bronco.

My car is totaled, but the other driver’s car only suffered a bent metal bumper. That night my neck and lower back stiffened up and 2 days later turned into spinal pain. I also noticed my swelled knee, sprained toe, and a seat belt buckle imprint on my rear, causing pain all of the way down my leg.

Can I sue for pain and suffering and missed wages so I don’t have to use my sick days I was saving for surgery? Is this done through insurance or through lawyer? Thank you for any information you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

Based on the facts, it appears the driver behind you was in violation of Maryland’s Transportation Code Section 21-310 – Following too Closely, which reads in part:

“The driver of a motor vehicle may not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the other vehicle and of the traffic on and the condition of the highway.”

Maryland is a “third party tort” state. This means victims of car accidents have a right to pursue the at-fault driver for compensation for injuries and property damage. Compensation can also include pain and suffering.

However, Maryland is also a Pure Contributory Negligence state. Under Maryland law, if it is determined the victim in an auto accident or other injury accident is found to have been even 1% at- fault, he or she is barred from any compensation. This is a very strict rule and it is only employed in a few states.

You have to be concerned if the insurance company will make a determination that your having slowed down to such a low speed on a the road with a greater speed limit contributed to the collision. If so, you will be barred from compensation and will have to rely on your PIP for compensation. It would be prudent to have your case reviewed by a local personal injury attorney.

Learn more here: Rear-End Accident Compensation

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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