Auto accidents happen in different ways. From small fender benders to fatal head-on crashes, the list is almost endless. One of the most common types of collisions involves a car rear-ending another. In the United States alone, rear-end collisions happen after every 8 seconds. This explains why over 3 million Americans are injured every year in rear-end accidents. Such accidents should almost always never happen because vehicles don’t materialize out of thin air.
Attorneys from the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm are familiar with rear-end auto accidents and will assist you to get the compensation you deserve for the injuries you may have sustained. Similar to all other car accident cases that we handle, we won’t charge you a dime if we don’t get your compensation. Therefore, fill our free online case evaluation form to discuss everything about your case with a Los Angeles rear-end auto accident attorney without any charges or obligation.
Causes of Rear-end Accidents
Following another car very closely also known as tailgating is one of the common causes of rear-end car crashes. When drivers fail to give enough space to the vehicles in front, there is often not enough time to break or avoid a collision. Therefore, in most of these rear-end car accidents, the driver who hits the car from behind is to blame for the crash and is also responsible for property damages and injuries that the driver and passengers sustain. According to the California Vehicle Code 21703, the driver of a motor powered vehicle should not follow another car very closely than prudent and reasonable, and the driver should regard the speed of the vehicle and road condition.
In some circumstances, the vehicle in front may decelerate or stop instantly for no reason, and the driver behind is unable to slow down or stop in time, despite the space between the two cars. Although sometimes it can be difficult to prove such a case, there are some instances when the driver in front may be found negligent for braking too quickly and causing the driver in front to hit his car. Therefore, if you are in such a situation, you should not provide or give any statements to insurance companies without consulting an experienced car accident attorney from the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney law firm.
Although tailgating is often the main cause of rear-end car crashes, such accidents can also be caused by other factors.
Other common causes of rear-end car crashes include:
Driving while under the influence: Alcohol and other hard drugs can reduce the ability of a driver to respond quickly and hit the vehicle in front.
Distracted driving: Some of the common causes of distracted driving include using cell phones or other electronic gadgets, adjusting the radio, talking to other passengers, or even eating while driving. All this can distract even the most cautious drivers from watching other cars and the road and therefore fail to stop in time.
Driving recklessly: speeding and other reckless driving behaviors often cause rear-end collisions. The California Code 22350 basic speed law states that no driver should speed their vehicle on highways at speeds greater than prudent or reasonable. The driver is also expected to have due regard for visibility, weather, the width of the highway, the surface, the traffic, and the driver should never drive at speeds that can endanger the lives of other people or their property.
Rear-end Accidents and Negligence
The term negligence is used to refer to someone whose conduct is below the set standard of care. A driver can be considered as negligent in case their actions are below what a driver is expected to do under certain circumstances and thus cause an accident. To be able to prove that a driver was liable for the car crash, you should first prove that there was a duty. All drivers in Los Angeles owe each other a duty of exercising care whenever they are operating their motor vehicles. Secondly, you have to prove that the other car driver breached their duty to exercise care.
Examples of ways that drivers can breach their responsibility to provide care:
- Not maintaining the proper control of their vehicle
- Failing to slow down
- Not braking to a stop within a reasonable time
- Paying inadequate attention to traffic and the road by looking out for any hazards
- Not driving at a sensible speed based on the road conditions and the posted speed limits
- Not using the turn signs
- Failing to give the right of way
- Not following the other driver at a safe distance.
Thirdly, you are expected to prove that the other driver breached his duty, and this resulted in the accident, and finally, you should also establish that you experienced actual damages, for instance, vehicle or bodily injuries as a result of the car crash.
In most cases, insurance adjusters and juries understand that several rear-end car crashes are often caused by negligent drivers who crash into other vehicles. The law is clear that every driver in Los Angeles has the responsibility of following the vehicles ahead at a reasonable distance. The main reason why drivers should provide this care is because other drivers can slow down unexpectedly or come to a stop to avoid road hazards, or even because of traffic congestion. It is your responsibility as a driver to keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front to avoid a collision in case the unexpected happens.
The rear-ended car driver may also be negligent in the following scenarios:
- Stops suddenly to make a turn but fails to execute the turn
- Reverses suddenly
- The driver experiences an emergency, for instance, a flat tire but fails to engage the hazard lights to warn other drivers.
- The tail lights were not functioning at the time the accident happened.
In all these scenarios, the driver in front is considered negligent. However, the legal impact of the driver’s negligence will mostly depend on the degree of negligence that the driver contributed.
In case a car accident is caused by more than one negligent driver, California has a doctrine that is referred to as comparative negligence which directs the jury to handle each case individually and determine whether both parties are to blame and the percentage that each party was at fault. When the jury determines that you were also partially at fault for the rear-end car accident, your compensation will be reduced but not eliminated.
Comparative negligence is divided into two:
Pure Comparative Negligence
The rear-end car crash liability is split depending on the percentage of fault by each driver. This means that if driver A is 30% liable for the crash, and has $10,000 in damages, he will only be able to recover $7,000 from the other driver who is 70% liable for the crash.
Modified Comparative Negligence
In this category, liability is shared between the negligent drivers but to a certain level. When the plaintiff exceeds the set limit, then he or she won’t recover anything. The typical set limit is 50%. This means that if a driver exceeds 50% liability for a rear-end car crash, then he will be barred from being compensated anything from the other driver.
Common Rear-End Auto Accident Injuries
According to the National Traffic Safety Bureau, rear-end collisions are among the most dangerous types of car accidents in the whole country, and a major cause of serious body injuries. These injuries are expensive and cost Americans millions of dollars every year in rehabilitation, medical fees, and lost wages. The injuries you sustain after a rear-end car crash will vary based on some factors. However, some of the common injuries that are caused by rear-end accidents include:
Although there are several types of injuries caused by rear-end accidents, including more than 2,500 fatal injuries each and every year, whiplash is the most common. A recent report indicated that over 3 million people sustain whiplash injuries to their back or neck in auto accidents each year, and many of them are rear-end car crashes. Whiplash injuries cause severe pain to the victim and only disappear after a few months or may continue throughout life. As rear-end car accident attorneys, we are responsible for investigating any unique circumstances in your current situation and focus on maximizing the best results for you and your loved ones.
Regardless of the type of auto accident, broken bones often occur. In rear-end car crashes, breaks occur mostly in the:
Despite the advancement in car crash safety equipment, bones often get broken in fatal car accidents. However, broken bones can easily be identified, treated and documented compared to soft-tissue types of injuries. In serious cases, the skull can fracture causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Recent data that has been cited by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Association) indicated that over 1.7 million Americans sustain TBIs every year and out of these cases, over 50,000 people die. The second most common cause of TBI is MVT or motor vehicle traffic but also the highest cause of TBI-related deaths.
Similar to whiplash, the symptoms of TBI aren’t always apparent, and it can take many days or even weeks before the full effects of the traumatic brain injuries manifest fully. However, some of the common symptoms include:
- Damaged speech
- Losing consciousness
- Diminished cognitive performance
- Prolonged fatigue
- Abnormal behavioral changes
Unlike broken bones, TBI is sometimes very difficult to treat, and in some other cases, it may result in permanent impairments.
When your brain or spine is injured severely, it may leave you completely or partially paralyzed. There are different and several factors that can affect the level of paralysis, for instance, the spinal portions or discs of your brain that are injured and the seriousness of your injury.
Scarring and Facial Disfigurement
In most rear-end crashes; the occupants are violently flung against their limits. Sometimes, instead of hitting the deployed airbag or being held by the car seatbelt, a passenger or driver may hit the headrest or dashboard in a manner that leaves them within permanent disfigurement or scarring. The immediacy of treatment and safety measures are important factors that can help minimize and even prevent scarring.
What You Should do After a Rear-End Collision
When you are involved in a rear-end car accident, and you have sustained serious injuries, the most important step that you should make is to seek medical attention. Timeliness in seeking treatment for your injuries can make a big difference.
After taking care of your health and that of other injured passengers, ensure that you contact a trained and experienced rear-end car crash attorney from the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney law firm. Keep in mind that a lot of things can happen after a severe rear-end car crash: lost time and wages, high medical bills, inability to work, and adjusted insurance rates among many others. This can quickly put you in a serious financial situation because of something that is out of your control.
It’s very unfortunate that victims of these accidents with no control almost always sustain severe injuries. If you’re such a victim, you deserve fair compensation for your losses and injuries. The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney law firm has experienced lawyers in negotiating auto accident settlements, and they can provide you with sound legal advice and help you fight your rear-end auto accident. We offer free and no obligation consultation, and don’t charge any fees until we win your case.
Our experienced attorneys have handled and successfully resolved several Los Angeles rear-end auto accident cases for people like you who have been injured by negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, arbitrating, and even going to trial if necessary. We encourage you to call Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney at 424-231-2013 to discuss your case before you decide to talk to an insurance company representative.