Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP-1), ATM and DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) are all involved in responding to DNA damage to activate pathways responsible for cellular survival. Here, we demonstrate that PARP-1−/− cells are sensitive to the ATM inhibitor KU55933 and conversely that AT cells are sensitive to the PARP inhibitor 4-amino-1,8-napthalamide. In addition, PARP-1−/− cells are shown to be sensitive to the DNA-PK inhibitor NU7026 and DNA-PKcs or Ku80 defective cells shown to be sensitive to PARP inhibitors. We believe PARP inhibition results in an increase in unresolved spontaneous DNA single-strand breaks (SSBs), which collapse replication forks and trigger homologous recombination repair (HRR). We show that ATM is activated following inhibition of PARP. Furthermore, PARP inhibitor-induced HRR is abolished in ATM, but not DNA-PK, inhibited cells. ATM and DNA-PK inhibition together give the same sensitivity to PARP inhibitors as ATM alone, indicating that ATM functions in the same pathways as DNA-PK for survival at collapsed forks, likely in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). Altogether, we suggest that ATM is activated by PARP inhibitor-induced collapsed replication forks and may function upstream of HRR in the repair of certain types of double-strand breaks (DSBs).