Rear-end crashes are the most frequently occurring type of collision, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Rear-end accidents occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the back end of another vehicle, and when it happens in a line of traffic, multiple vehicles can be affected. The high volumes of traffic in and around Los Angeles County can mean a greater likelihood of rear-end accidents.
After the initial shock of a car accident subsides, the stress of navigating complex laws and insurance claims can be overwhelming. The experienced rear-end collisions attorneys at MAJK Law have helped countless Los Angeles car accident victims obtain compensation for their injuries. We’ll fight hard to pursue the maximum payment to which you are entitled, while you focus on recovering from your injuries and moving forward.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but frequent causes of rear-end collisions in Los Angeles include:
- Tailgating. One of the most common causes of rear-end collision is when drivers follow other vehicles too closely, which is also known as tailgating.
- Distracted driving. Drivers who are talking or texting on their phones, or are otherwise distracted while operating their vehicles, often take their eyes from the road and may not notice that vehicles ahead of them have slowed or stopped.
- Driving while intoxicated. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be less alert or have delayed reaction time, increasing their risks of collision.
- Mechanical problems. There may be incidents where the driver is aware of the need to stop or slow down, but a malfunctioning part of their vehicle prevents them from doing so in time. In these cases, there may be additional parties at fault in the accident, including the manufacturer of the vehicle or vehicle parts.
- Inclement weather. Even if a driver is aware of the need to slow or stop their vehicle, snow or rain can create slippery conditions that impact the ability of the driver to control the vehicle. Other weather patterns can cause visibility issues that affect the ability of the driver to see the need to slow or stop.
- Unexpected changes in speed. Some speed changes, such as when approaching an intersection or other traffic signal, are expected. Others, such as sudden braking to avoid an obstacle in the road, or because a vehicle ahead of you is turning, are less expected and may be more likely for even an alert driver to avoid.
Regardless of your position in an accident, or whose fault the accident appears to be, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced rear-end collision attorney. Even if you are partly to blame for the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
Insurance companies are interested in settling as quickly and as cheaply as possible—and are often successful when victims are not represented by experienced legal counsel. The skilled legal team at MAJK law will spend time investigating the details of your accident and working to ensure that those at fault are held accountable.
California Vehicle Codes Applicable to Rear-End Collisions
California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 21703VC prohibits drivers from following other vehicles too closely, also known as tailgating. The CVC states that drivers must allow reasonable and prudent space between vehicles – a distance that may vary with road conditions, vehicle type and speed, and other factors.
Other CVC sections prohibit drivers from operating their vehicles at unsafe speeds—whether too fast or too slow, based on traffic conditions—and from making unsafe U-turns.
The application of CVC sections to rear-end collisions is based on a careful analysis of the specifics of your accident. A knowledgeable rear end accident lawyer can help determine whether any state laws are applicable to the facts of your case.
California Rear-End Law: Who’s at Fault
At the scene of the accident, the fault for the rear-end collision may seem obvious. However, if you are the one filing a claim or lawsuit, it may be your responsibility to prove who is at fault to recover damages. An experienced rear-end collision lawyer can help establish fault. This may involve gathering and evaluating some or all of the following:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Photos of the damage
- Medical reports
- Crash reconstruction
- Expert reports or testimony
Establishing fault is a required part of filing your claim, and yet you do not have to be blameless to potentially recover damages. California is a comparative fault state, which means that multiple parties can be at fault for an accident—and that you may be entitled to damages even if you are partially to blame.
For example, if you are found to be 40 percent at fault, and another driver is found to be 60 percent at fault, the other driver will likely be responsible for paying 60 percent of the damages that resulted from the accident. Even if you are found to be more at fault than anyone else involved, if their negligence contributed in any way, you are entitled to recover damages at the percentage of their fault.
Because the laws governing fault for car accidents are complex, do not miss out on compensation you deserve by attempting to navigate the legal process on your own. Contact an experienced rear-end collision attorney immediately to ensure that your interests are protected.
Statute of Limitations for a Rear-End Collision
California’s statute of limitations for personal injury limits the time you have to file a claim to two years from the date of the accident. In some cases, where the injury was not immediately apparent, the two-year period may have a later start date. Claims for property damage are generally limited to three years after the accident. Once the statute of limitations has run out, you will likely lose the right to sue for damages.
Determining when the statute of limitations will run out on your claim is not always easy. If you’ve been injured, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel and begin the process of filing an injury claim as soon as possible. In addition to ensuring that you meet all filing deadlines, a timely filing helps to preserve important memories and emphasize the severity of your injuries and challenges to the court.
Common Injuries from Being Rear-Ended
The injuries sustained in a rear-end collision vary from minor bumps and bruises to severe disfigurement, disability, and even death. The severity and type of injury that results from rear-end collisions depends on many factors, including the victim’s age, where in the vehicle they were sitting, whether they were wearing a seatbelt or using a car seat, and the type and speed of vehicles involved in the collision.
Some injuries are particularly common to rear-end collisions, including:
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It is important to seek medical care after an accident, even if you do not have symptoms of an injury. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, may have symptoms that do not appear for months or even years after the accident. Other symptoms may not seem serious at first but result in chronic issues with debilitating consequences that greatly affect your quality of life over time.
If you have been rear-ended, it is critical to seek a comprehensive medical evaluation immediately, and then to contact a rear-end collision attorney. California law limits the time you have to file a claim—it is crucial to identify and address injuries as soon as possible in order to maximize your chances of compensation.
Compensation for Rear-End Collision Injuries and Damage
The amount and type of damages you can recover after being rear-ended depend on many factors including the specifics of the accident, the severity of the injuries and damage, and the determination of who is at fault. Common types of compensation for a rear-end collision in Los Angeles include:
- Medical bills and expenses, current and future
- Lost income and wages, current and future
- Vehicle repair or replacement expenses
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Alternate transportation costs
- Wrongful death
Economic damages, such as medical bills or the costs of vehicle repair, are relatively straightforward to show. However, noneconomic damages—such as calculating a lifetime of lost wages or putting a value on your pain and suffering—are much more challenging to calculate and often account for the more significant portion of the total compensation you may receive.
It is in the interest of the insurance company to settle your claim at the lowest possible cost, and they are often successful when victims come to the negotiating table without legal counsel. Additionally, other parties to the accident may be pursuing compensation, or seeking to reduce the amount of compensation they may owe you. It is critical to have a Los Angeles rear-end collision attorney by your side to properly calculate and fight for the compensation you deserve.
As with any personal injury claim, the amount of recoverable damages depends on the specific facts of your case and the quality of your legal team. Seeking the counsel of a qualified Los Angeles rear end collision lawyer can help ensure that you recover the maximum possible compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact a Los Angeles Rear-End Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas, the skilled legal team at MAJK Law can help. Even injuries that seem minor can have serious and lifelong impacts to your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. Let us navigate the legal process and fight for what you deserve so that you can focus on recovering and getting back on track. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.