Were You Injured in a Rear-End Accident? You Can Trust Us to Handle Your Claim
In California, negligent and reckless driving is the main cause of car accidents and unintentional injuries. Although traffic fatalities have slightly decreased since 2018, it is still a statewide concern. Of the multiple types of auto accidents, rear-end collisions can be the most terrifying because it normally happens without notice and without an opportunity to avoid them. The injuries sustained normally upend a victim’s life – from taking unintended time off work, trying to make ends meet for their family or wrongful death. The best thing to do when you go through this serious, life-changing event is to retain a personal injury attorney in LA who is knowledgeable about car accidents in California.
The Concept of Negligence
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions make up for nearly 30% of all traffic accidents. Like many other auto accidents that happen in California, rear-end accidents are normally the result of driver negligence. Though this is a common presumption, it is not always true. In this article, we discuss why, the circumstances in which an at-fault driver may not be held responsible, and when to retain a Los Angeles attorney for fatal car accidents.
Negligence is a term used to describe an individual’s failure to use reasonable care, such as practicing safe driving. The lack of care results in damages, injuries, or both. To prove a driver was negligent in a fender-bender, you must be able to prove that a duty existed. It may seem like a challenging notion to prove at first, but it is straightforward. All drivers are legally required to exercise a duty of care when behind the wheel and on the road. Failing to do so is a breach of duty, such as:
- Not paying attention to the road and proactively looking out for hazards.
- Failing to stop within a reasonable amount of time.
- Not driving according to posted speed limits or road conditions.
- Inability to maintain control of the motor vehicle.
- Failing to yield the right of way to other cars and/or pedestrians.
- Not using turn signals.
- Tail-gaiting other drivers.
In addition to establishing how the driver was negligent, you must be able to explain how it caused the accident. If you sustained minor to severe wounds or noticed damages to your vehicle you have a chance for financial restitution when you file a car accident lawsuit.
Establishing Fault in Rear-End Accidents
In most cases, the driver of the car that rear-ends you will always be partially negligent for the fender bender. Because they failed to keep a safe distance, it can hurt their case when insurance adjusters investigate. For example, road hazards normally prompt drivers to reduce their speed or come to stop to avoid getting hurt. Similarly, when there is traffic congestion on the highway. Therefore, there is no reasonable excuse as to why they were unable to prevent a collision when preventing unanticipated stops is a routine part of driving.
Opposing drivers in vehicles that get rear-ended can be proven negligent as well. A few scenarios where both drivers can share the blame for fender bender are:
- Slamming on the brakes without warning or reason.
- Failure to use a turn signal when slowing down – before making the turn.
- Driving without functioning brake lights.
- Driving with a flat tire and refusing to pull over or operate with hazard lights.
- Putting the car in reverse in a traffic lane.
In each example, the driver that gets rear-ended would be considered negligent. A top-rated car accident attorney in LA is the best person to determine the legal impact. Blame is assessed by how much that driver’s negligence contributed to the accident whether it involved other cars or tractor-trailers, for example. Overall, California law only holds each defendant liable for his or her portion of the fault in an accident.
Comparative Negligence vs. Contributory Negligence
When more than one driver is a fault for a car accident the outcome varies. States have different policies regarding contributory negligence and comparative negligence.
What is Contributory Negligence?
Contributory negligence means both parties involved acted carelessly on the road. Under the law, if the driver that got rear-ended can prove the opposing driver contributed to the accident to any degree, said driver is prohibited from recovering for any damages.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence distributes fault between both drivers. A driver’s liability can be reduced, but not eradicated from the case if another driver is partially at fault. There are two variations of comparative negligence to keep in mind:
- Pure comparative negligence: When liability is split based on the percentage of each driver’s fault. If one defendant is 40% to blame for the rear-end accident and has $10,000 in damages, he/she can only collect $6,000 from the other driver (who was 60% to blame for an accident).
- Modified comparative negligence: When liability is split based on the percentage of fault, to a certain degree. When a plaintiff meets or exceeds that level, he/she is prevented from recovering damages. The capped limit is normally 50%. So, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault in a fender bender, he/she cannot recover compensation from other at-fault drivers.
Though, under California’s comparative negligence law, victims of a rear-end collision can still recover financial compensation from the other driver’s insurance. The court will reduce the amount to match your degree of fault, which is why having an attorney for car accidents on your side can be beneficial. As they can build a strong legal strategy to lessen your percentage of liability and increase your compensatory value.
About The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez
Our law firm specializes in helping those who were injured due to an accident or someone else’s negligence. Navigating the insurance agencies and legal framework for compensation can be difficult, especially if English is not your first language. That’s why you should call the bilingual lawyers of The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez to make sure you are compensated for your pain and suffering.
When you meet with one of our English-speaking and Spanish-speaking personal injury attorneys, you can tell them how your accident occurred and who might be responsible. Your attorneys will then launch an investigation into your accident and the events surrounding it to find who is responsible. If someone was negligent and their lack of care led to your injury, then they will build a case to make sure they pay your medical bills. You should contact our law firm if you were injured in a:
- Car accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Bike accident
- Rideshare accident
- Pool accident
- Dog attack
- Workplace accident
We can also help you with product liability and premises liability suits. Don’t leave your medical bills and property damage to chance; instead, hire a law firm that can win you the maximum settlement. Contact our office for a free consultation at 323-999-3500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.