What To Do When You Get Rear Ended
Any driver can be involved in a car accident. However, if you live in California, your chances are greater. As the second-highest state in the nation for fatal traffic accidents, it is also one of the highest for rear-end collisions. Unfortunately, these incidents are among the worst from a physical injury standpoint. If you are rear-ended in California, the chances of suffering neck or back injuries are high. And with it, a costly and painful recovery.
In this blog, we will cover all the important issues related to rear-end collisions, from what to do after a crash, to determining potential liability for the at-fault driver, and how to get compensated for your injuries.
California Rear-end Collision Statistics
According to a Washington Post report, the number of rear-end accidents in the United States is about two million per year, resulting in about 2,000 deaths and more than half a million injuries. That’s 30% of the country’s total crashes, and they account for 26% and 7% of all injuries and deaths caused by motor vehicle mishaps.
Unfortunately, California is one of the states that contributes the most to these numbers. Representing 27% of the total, these types of accidents are common on West Coast roads. According to data from the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, the state registered nearly 400 fatalities and more than 95,000 injuries in 2017.
As we will see below, distractions, alcohol consumption, or reckless driving lead to these accidents. Incidents can have devastating health consequences. But how do these crashes affect victims’ lives? Well, rear-end collisions are the type of car accident with the worst prognosis in terms of injuries. The blunt impact on the body makes recovery slow and traumatic. Neck and back injuries are particularly prevalent in this type of collision. In fact, 85% of neck injuries in car crashes are due to rear impacts.
California Rear End Law
The law that addresses rear-end collisions is Section 21703 VC of the California Vehicle Code. This section penalizes drivers who fail to maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of them. Also known as tailgating, it targets those who drive too close to the car in front of them. While 21703 VC does not specifically describe what spacing should be maintained between cars, it does state that motor vehicles must maintain a “reasonable and prudent” distance.
If the distance is not maintained, the responsible driver may be penalized with:
- A fine of up to $250.
- One point on the driver’s record.
- In the event of a rear-end collision, a possible personal injury claim.
What to Do if You Are Rear-ended
Knowing the procedures to follow after being rear-ended can be key in a potential California injury case. Doing so will protect your right to fair compensation in the event of a claim.
- Check for injuries.
- Call 911 and the police. Seeking medical attention, even if you are not in pain, will strengthen your future claim.
- Exchange personal, vehicle, and insurance information.
- Get names, phone numbers, and witness statements.
- Take photos and video of the accident scene. Also, try to find out if businesses in the area have cameras that may have captured the incident.
- Contact your personal injury attorney and notify your insurance company.
What Causes Most of the Accidents?
After many years of analyzing reports, uncovering new data, and representing thousands of rear-ended accident victims in California, the attorneys at Adamson Ahdoot are very familiar with the leading causes of these incidents.
- Distracted driving. This behavior is, without a doubt, the one that causes the most traffic accidents. And, in particular, the one responsible for the most rear-end collisions in California. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that distracted driving is responsible for about 87% of all rear-end accidents.
- Aggressive driving. This includes reckless and inconsiderate behavior such as tailgating or harsh braking.
- Adverse weather conditions. Rain, snow, or fog cause drivers to have poor visibility and reduced reaction time.
- Drunk driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol impairs judgment. It reduces the driver’s ability to react and control distances.
Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?
Typically, the person who is rear-ended in California is not responsible for the accident. Talking on the phone, eating, or exceeding the speed limit are usually some of the reasons why a driver slams into the vehicle in front of them. Basically, the driver commits negligence that leads to a motor vehicle incident which usually results in serious injuries.
However, every accident is different and needs to be properly analyzed and investigated. There are many other cases where the collision has occurred due to the fault of the car in front. Some of the reasons why the rear-ended car could be at fault are:
- Abrupt lane changes without providing time for the vehicle behind to brake.
- Sudden braking without warning.
- Failure to signal or negligent signaling when turning.
- Malfunction or failure to change the car’s brake lights to indicate to the car behind that traffic is slowing down.
- Carelessly leaving a parking space without checking for cars behind.
As Los Angeles car accident attorneys, it is not the first time that injured victims have asked us, “I rear-ended someone who stopped suddenly in California, is it my fault? Can I be sued?” For these cases, it is essential to hire a specialized car crash lawyer. Even if the person responsible for the accident sues you, you can still file another lawsuit to prove liability and damages. But to do so, you must have a quality lawyer who is prepared to build a strong case.
Can Someone Sue Me for Rear Ending Them in California?
Yes, of course. As we mentioned earlier, due to the number of rear-ended victims in California, it is common to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, in order to recover compensation for injuries, it is necessary to prove at least two proofs: an injury report and the existence of negligence on the part of the defendant driver.
Average Settlement for Rear-End Collision in California
This is a difficult question to answer since much depends on the circumstances of the accident. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration are the responsible driver’s insurance limit, the extent of the victim’s injuries, the cost of medical treatment for the injuries, and the strategy that the plaintiff’s legal representation adopts for the case. Logically, the more years of experience an injury lawyer has, the more likely they are to present a convincing case.
At Adamson Ahdoot, we can only speak to what we have achieved for clients who have chosen to retain our services for their personal injury cases. The largest settlement we obtained last year for a rear-end collision in California was $5.75 million for a serious injury case in Los Angeles. The defendant driver was distracted and had no room to react when the victim’s car slowed for oncoming traffic. To see other successful car accident awards, take a look at this list.
How To Calculate Pain and Suffering in California Rear End
There is no specific method or formula for victims to know how to calculate pain and suffering after an injury accident. However, there are a number of guidelines that can be used to get an idea of the potential value of the claim. To do this, the attorney will help you prepare a report listing all the damages and losses you have suffered. This will include medical expenses, future hospital bills, lost wages while you were out of work, as well as an estimate of the emotional damages resulting from the incident.
Injured in a Car Accident? Give Us a Call
When you are involved in a car accident, it is important that you contact an attorney who specializes in this type of litigation. With a legal expert on your side, your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries increase. At Adamson Ahdoot, we have more than 100 years of combined legal experience, and we know how to build a strong case to get our clients the compensation they deserve.
If you are interested in learning more about your case, please call us today at (800) 310-1606. Our legal team is available 24/7 to provide a free consultation and discuss your potential personal injury claim. We can help you.
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