Rear-End Collision Attorneys
California congestion is a major contributing factor to aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, unsafe lane changes, and road rage. Long stretches of slow-moving start-and-stop traffic can also mean that drivers become more concerned with watching their phone than paying attention to traffic movement. When drivers are more focused on distractions or are following too closely because they are angry or in a rush, rear-end collisions happen. Rear-end collisions are traumatic events that can cause serious injuries and staggering medical bills.
At Tiemann Law Firm, we don’t think you should have to pay for the negligent actions of someone else. While drivers that cause a rear-end accident typically get the brunt of the blame, that isn’t always the case. That’s why, if you or someone you love has been hurt in a rear-end accident, you need to contact an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney for help. The attorneys with Tiemann Law Firm can review the circumstances of your case and lay out all your legal options for recovering compensation. Call our office at (916) 999-9000 to schedule a free case evaluation and talk to an attorney whose sole concern is getting you the money you deserve.
What Leads to Rear-End Collisions
The one overwhelming factor that contributes to the bulk of rear-end collisions on California roads boils is not paying attention. A lack of awareness is the most common cause of rear-end accidents today. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that nearly 87 percent of all rear-end collisions could have been avoided if the rear driver had been paying more attention. The same study by the NHTSA also found that rear-end collisions account for almost 30 percent of all car crashes, making them one of the most common types of car accidents.
“Not paying attention” is a broad phrase that explains how rear-end collisions happen, but there are a variety of sub-factors that more fully account for the behaviors that lead to rear-end accidents. Some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is at the top of the list when it comes to explaining why drivers are not paying full attention to the road. Phone calls, text messages, and navigation systems are most commonly to blame. Eating, drinking, grooming, and talking to passengers are also commonly cited distractions.
- Driving while under the influence: Driving under the influence impacts both a driver’s physical and cognitive abilities, slowing everything down and making it difficult to focus on the task of driving.
- Fatigued driving: Driving while fatigued is very similar to driving while intoxicated. There is a slow-down in mental and physical processes, which can result in an accident, as well as the hazard of completely falling asleep at the wheel.
- Aggressive driving: Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, and cutting off other vehicles, all of which are behaviors that can result in a rear-end collision. California Vehicle Code 21703 specifically prohibits drivers from following another car too closely because of the risk of causing an accident, especially a rear-end crash.
- Poor weather conditions: This is another reason that California Vehicle Code 21703 exists. Poor weather conditions are routinely blamed for large-scale rear-end collisions. However, drivers are required to give adequate space to the vehicle ahead of them. Drivers are also responsible for exercising extra caution when weather conditions are not favorable.
- Rubbernecking: One accident can be the indirect cause of another. Drivers who take their focus away from the road to look at another accident are at risk of causing a rear-end collision.
Common Injuries Suffered in Rear-End Collisions
At any speed, the most common complaint following a rear-end accident is of head or neck pain. The sudden and unexpected impact from behind can propel a victim forward with a tremendous amount of momentum before they are flung back into their seat. This is commonly referred to as whiplash. Depending on the nature of the rear-end accident, whiplash can be a painful but relatively minor condition, or it can result in severe trauma to the head, neck, and spine.
The speed at which the rear driver hits the car in front of them is one of the major factors that determine the severity of rear-end collision injuries. High-speed rear-end collisions can result in devastating injuries, even death. Some of the most common injuries seen in rear-end accidents include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Other head, neck, and spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Crushed ribs
- Punctured lungs
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful Death
Compensation Available for Rear-End Collisions
Many people believe that a rear-end collision case is cut and dried: the rear-driver is always at fault, and then the victim is compensated. However, this isn’t always the case. Rear-end collisions can be complicated, and the amount of compensation due to each driver is largely determined by California’s “pure comparative negligence” regulation.
Under a pure comparative negligence model, each driver is assigned liability for causing an accident. The amount of compensation that each driver is entitled to receive is tied to that liability assessment. If a victim is found to be 10 percent responsible for the circumstances that caused an accident, they can recover the total amount of damages calculated, minus 10 percent.
If the amount of damages is $100,000, a victim is entitled to $90,000 of that money. The at-fault driver would be liable for 90 percent of the accident and under the pure comparative negligence model, would be allowed to recover the total amount of damages, minus 90 percent. In this example, that would be $10,000.
However, because California is a “fault” state, the at-fault driver or their insurance company is still on the hook for paying the victim the $90,000 they are entitled to in this scenario.
The mistake people tend to make is assuming that the rear driver will be found at-fault for the majority of the accident. In many situations, they will be, but not always. A rear driver or their insurance company can attempt to fault the lead driver in several ways, including saying that the lead driver:
- Pulled out in front too quickly or without looking
- Failed to use turn signals
- Has defective brake lights
- Failed to yield
By assigning a larger portion of the blame to the victim, the rear driver or their insurance company can avoid paying the victim all the money they may be entitled to. This saves the insurance company money and allows them to keep a larger portion of their money right where they want it: in their own pockets.
By hiring an attorney, you are securing an advocate that will be able to review all the circumstances of the accident, conduct an investigation into the crash, and build a solid case establishing liability for the accident. This gives you, the victim, the best opportunity at achieving a positive outcome and recovering the maximum amount of compensation you are due.
Getting an attorney on board for your case quickly also serves another purpose. Many victims attempt to pursue an insurance claim first, thinking they don’t need an attorney to file. An attorney is a valuable asset when it comes to negotiating with an insurance adjuster, but they are also valuable for another reason.
Not all insurance companies will offer a fair settlement or deal with victims in good faith. By the time the victim realizes this, it may be too late to pursue other avenues for recovering compensation.
California gives accident victims two years from the date of the accident to pursue a lawsuit. Waiting for a fair settlement that may never come can waste a great deal of time and leave victims with no recourse for securing full compensation. Filing a suit after this deadline has passed will most certainly result in the suit being thrown out. Securing an attorney right away gives victims the best opportunity to learn about all their options and pursue the maximum amount of compensation available.
Contact an Experienced Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
Rear-end collisions can be traumatic, leaving a victim physically injured and financially unstable. Before medical bills become unmanageable, contact an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney for help. At Tiemann Law Firm our skilled attorneys are dedicated to holding negligent drivers responsible for their actions, which includes making sure that you get the full and fair compensation that you deserve following a rear-end collision.
If you have been involved in a rear-end accident that resulted in serious injuries, contact the team at Tiemann Law Firm. Our Sacramento car accident attorneys can offer you the advice and guidance you need to understand all your legal options and pursue the avenue that will give you the best possible outcome. Don’t take on a rear-end driver or their insurance company alone. Call Tiemann Law Firm today to talk to an experienced Sacramento attorney. We even offer a free case evaluation to help get you started. Call now at (916) 999-9000 for more information.