Rear-end collisions occur when one car hits another from the back. Often, the driver in front is stopped or slowed at the time of a rear-end accident, and they are more likely to suffer significant injuries from the force of the crash. At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, we may be able to help you recover damages if you are rear-ended by another driver. It is critical to have a Folsom car accident lawyer on your side before you speak to the other driver’s insurance adjuster.
Rear-End Collision Cases
In most cases, a driver who crashes into another car from behind is determined to be at fault. When drivers are going too fast, they may not be able to stop safely. However, each case is determined on its own merits. The police should be called to the scene. Based on the rules of the road, they may be able to determine fault when they prepare their report. For example, if a driver was driving 50 mph in a 25 mph zone, and they could not stop in time to avoid hitting a stopped car, they are likely to be cited as being at fault. For another example, if you are being tailgated by an aggressive driver in a hurry to get to her daughter’s school, and you need to stop suddenly, the other driver may be at fault if there is not enough stopping distance to stop without crashing into you.
While most insurance companies realize that the driver in the rear is probably at fault, they do sometimes make an effort to blame the victim. Under the doctrine of comparative fault, your damages can be reduced by your percentage of fault. Someone in the front car of a rear-end collision could be at fault for a number of reasons. One of these is when the front car does not have working brake lights that would alert the driver in the rear that it was necessary to slow down and come to a stop. Another is when the front driver has squeezed into a very narrow space in order to get ahead of another car, and the other driver is not able to stop in time.
A jury will evaluate the total damages and also assign a percentage of fault to each party found to be at fault. For example, the jury might determine that the total damages are $100,000 and that you were 20% at fault. In that case, you would be able to recover $80,000 from the other driver.
Rear-end collisions can result in serious injuries or more minor injuries, depending on how fast the cars were traveling. When such an accident takes place on the highway and involves tailgating at 65 mph or more, the injuries may be severe, including significant spinal damage, traumatic brain injuries, and complex fractures. When one car is stopped in a residential area, and the other is traveling at around 25 mph, the injuries may be mostly soft tissue injuries to the back or perhaps a disc herniation.
Damages that you may be able to recover if your attorney is able to prove that a rear-end collision was another driver’s fault include both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are generally tangible, documented losses. These may include lost income or wages, vocational rehabilitation, emergency medical care, long-term medical treatment, and household services. Noneconomic losses are damages that are harder to quantify. These can vary dramatically, depending on how your case is presented to a jury. Such losses may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment.