According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the most common car accidents are rear-end collisions. These accidents frequently occur at traffic signals, intersections or when traffic is slowed due to accidents or other road conditions. Nonetheless, under California traffic laws, drivers must be able to come to a safe stop if a vehicle ahead stops or slows down. In most cases, when a driver is struck from behind by another vehicle, the striking driver is deemed to be at fault.
J&Y Law Firm has extensive experience handling car accident cases throughout Northern and Southern California. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Our experienced attorneys will aggressively fight for your rights so that you can focus on recovering.
Common Causes of Rear-End Car Accidents
There are a number of causes of rear-end accidents, including:
- Distracted Driving
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Excessive speed
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Today, a key contributor to rear-end accidents is the use of smartphones, texting and other onboard technology that can take a driver’s attention away from the road. Although state laws ban the use of cellphones, texting and other wireless devices, distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of traffic accidents in California.
Similarly when a driver is following too closely, he or she may not be able to stop safely, particularly on wet or icy roads. Moreover, in many rear-end collisions, a key factor is speed because drivers are prone to misjudge speed when approaching a stopped vehicle, resulting in a rear-end impact. Finally, it is widely known that driving under the influence can impact a driver’s ability to react to traffic conditions and depth perception which can easily lead to a rear-end collision.
Determining Fault in a Rear-End Collision
All rear-end accidents have a common element: negligence. In short, fault is readily apparent if the striking driver acted carelessly and crashed into another car. The second driver may have been stopped at a sign or light, or slowing down in traffic, and the striking driver was not careful and failed to stop safely.
Additionally, a common scenario in rear-end collisions is multi-car accidents in which the first vehicle strikes another car, and the force pushes that vehicle into another motorist, at times triggering a chain reaction that can involve multiple vehicles. In these situations, if two cars are pushed together by a third car striking the middle car, the driver of the third car is most likely at fault. The first two drivers will have claims against the third driver, since the collision between the first and middle cars was caused by the third driver.
In some cases, however, the driver of the car who was hit from behind may be partially at fault in a rear-end accident, if his or her negligence caused the accident in any way. This is often the case when the hit car’s brake lights were not functioning properly. This can also arise if the hit car suddenly stopped without a good reason, or impeded traffic in a way, making it impossible for another driver to avoid the collision. Similarly if the front car had a mechanical problem and the driver stopped in the road, rather than moving the vehicle to the shoulder, the hit driver may bear some fault.
In these situations, under California’s comparative negligence rules, the hit driver’s recovery will be reduced by a percentage of fault that is assigned to him or her. If the hit driver is assigned fault at 20 percent, and the other driver at 80 percent, for example, and the total damages assessed were $100,000, then the amount of the final settlement will be reduced to $80,000.
California Rear-End Accident Attorney
Ultimately, rear-end collisions can result in traumatic injuries, particularly when the impacting vehicle is traveling at high speed. Many accident victims suffer injuries to their neck (whiplash) and lower back, as well as tendon, ligament and muscle strains. Depending on the severity of the impact, these accidents can lead to permanent injuries and fatalities. With so much at stake, a successful personal injury claim demands the skills of an experienced car-accident attorney.
J&Y Law Firm has a proven track of helping rear-end accident victims obtain meaningful compensation. We have the skills and resources that are necessary for pursuing successful injury claims. Our personal injury attorneys are well versed in the state’s traffic laws and comparative negligence rules. We routinely engage in a intricate and detailed negotiation with insurance companies. If an insurer fails to pay the full value of the claim, we are prepared to litigate the case in court. In all car accident cases, we work diligently to help our clients obtain just compensation.
Although rear-end collisions are common, being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. We offer each client compassion and knowledge and always put their best interests first. If you were injured in a read-end collision that was not your fault, you may be able to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and other monetary losses. Don’t hesitate to call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.