Accidents are prone to happen. No matter how careful you are, you can never predict the actions of others. California streets are some of the most trafficked roads in the country. The congestion contributes to tailgating, road rage, and more. All of these factors increase the risk of a road accident.
Rear-end accidents are some of the most common types of car accidents in the state of California. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), there were 118,029 drivers involved in rear-end injury car accidents and 405 drivers involved in rear-end collisions with fatalities in 2011. With such high numbers, the chances of you being involved in a rear-end accident are significantly high.
What Is a Rear-End Accident?
A rear-end car accident occurs when a driver runs head-first into the rear of another vehicle. The vehicles involved in the accident could be cars, trucks, and even motorcycles. Whenever such collisions occur, it is typically referred to as a rear-end collision. The impact of such an accident on both drivers is usually severe, depending on the circumstances involved. Injuries will be sustained and a lot of blame will be tossed around.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents
In our vast experience helping rear-end accident victims we’ve found there are several common causes of rear-end car accidents. Listed below are some of the most common causes of rear-end car accidents in California:
- Distracted driving: This is one of the most common causes of rear-end accidents. Making phone calls, texting, and eating (or drinking) are some of the common causes of distracted driving. Other relevant examples include reading the GPS and adjusting the radio.
- Reckless driving: Overspeeding, especially in dangerous driving conditions, is the number one culprit for reckless driving. Ignoring traffic rules, running the red light, and not leaving enough space between cars are other examples of reckless driving – all of which are common in California.
- Driving under the influence: Finally, driving under the influence of drugs and (or) alcohol is another leading cause of rear-end car accidents in California. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were about 10,265 reported fatalities in the year 2015 as a direct result of DUI-related accidents. These accidents could leave victims with serious injuries, disabilities, and in some cases, could even be fatal.
- Tailgating: Tailgating is an act of aggression that compromises road safety. Drivers should maintain a safe distance from other vehicles at all times. Driving too closely behind another vehicle can result in a rear-end crash if the vehicle in front suddenly slows or stops.
Establishing liability in an accident is very important. Liability will be evaluated to determine compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. A driver can and should be held accountable for any of the aforementioned actions above. The severity of the accident and property damage sustained also play an important factor in the settlement.
Common Rear-End Accident Injuries
Injuries are prone to happen in a car accident. The severity of the sustained injuries depend on the type of accident and the circumstances surrounding the occurrence. For example, a rear-end collision between a truck and a car would leave occupants with more critical injuries than an accident between two passenger vehicles. Common rear-end car accident injuries include, but are not limited, to:
- head injuries (concussion)
- back injuries
- broken bones
- sprains (neck, ankles, wrists etc)
- emotional or mental injuries
Seeking medical attention should be the number one priority after a car accident. Megredchian Law has one of the largest networks of medical experts. We can help you get the medical attention you need. Medical documentation of your injuries will also be necessary if your personal injury claim goes to trial.
Is the Driver in the Rear Always Liable?
In almost all rear-end collisions, the driver in the rear is held liable. Often, the driver in the rear violates one or both of the following state laws. These laws help responding officers determine fault based on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
1) California Vehicle Code (CVC) 22350: “Basic Speed Law”
“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
2) California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21703: “Following Too Closely”
“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway.”
Drivers are expected to be responsible for perceiving what is going on around them and to respond, and operate their vehicles, accordingly. Whenever a driver rear-ends another vehicle in violation of any (or all) of these state laws, they will most likely be held liable.
What If the Car That Hit You Isn’t Responsible for the Accident?
There are some instances where there are exceptions to these rules. California uses the comparative negligence system to determine who is at fault, and at what percentage. Whenever a case goes to trial, the jury might aim to find out if both parties were at fault or not.
There are several scenarios where the car that hit you from behind isn’t responsible. If that is the case, the jury will have to determine the percentage of fault. This will influence the compensation which the jury will award you should your case go to trial.
Examples of situations where you (or the other party, depending on the circumstances) might be held partially responsible for being rear-ended include:
- If your tail lights or brake lights were not functioning at the time of the rear-end accident. Especially if the incident occurred at night.
- Your vehicle had broken-down and no adequate signs were placed on the road to alert other drivers
- You made an unsafe lane change (without necessary indication) in front of the other vehicle and was rear-ended as a result.
Every case is unique. Whenever you are involved in a rear-end car accident, it is best to speak to an experienced Californian car accident attorney immediately. Speaking to a lawyer will ease any headaches and ensure your case will be rock solid.
Megeredchian Law Can Help
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end car accident, Megeredchian Law can help. Having experienced attorneys on your side will ensure you receive proper compensation, because results matter at Megeredchian Law.
From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance lawyers on your behalf, a Californian car accident lawyer will put your best interest first. So, if you are interested in legal guidance for your car accident claim, we encourage you to speak directly with one of our attorneys today! You can contact us or call us now at (888) 243-2050. You may also submit an online contact form and we will get back to you within the hour.