Los Angeles Rear-End Car Accidents
Representation from an Experienced Los Angeles Rear-End Accident Attorney
Los Angeles is one of the most legendary cities in the world. Unfortunately, so is the city’s traffic. With rush hour seeming to last round the clock, there is a constant risk of being rear ended in heavy traffic, no matter whether you’re commuting to the Valley or driving through a suburban neighborhood.
Rear-end accidents can range from seemingly minor bumper taps to multi-vehicle collisions, including 18-wheel tractor trailers. Even minor accidents can take an emotional and physical toll. Thankfully, there are California laws in place to impose liability on the at-fault party. However, the insurance company and/or attorney for the at-fault party will try to minimize their insured’s/client’s responsibility.
This is why it’s imperative to have someone on your side who will help protect your rights and work to get you the compensation you deserve. At the Dolan Law Firm, our skilled Los Angeles rear-end accident attorneys are here to help with your current legal matters. Please contact our office to set up a complimentary consultation.
How Liability Works in California Motor Vehicle Accidents
You might assume that rear-end accidents are always the rear vehicle’s fault. Multi-vehicle accidents are more complex, and the defense will always try to place a percentage of blame on the plaintiff.
California follows the pure comparative theory of liability. This means a plaintiff receives compensation based on each party’s fault percentage. For example, if the rear car is determined to be 85% at fault, the plaintiff in the front car can recover 85% of their damages while the defendant is eligible to receive 15% of theirs. For accidents with multiple vehicles, pure comparative negligence is almost a defense in itself. This is a way to get other defendants to contribute while reducing their own liability.
If a case proceeds to a jury trial, it is the jury who makes the determination of fault and what percentage of liability to apportion to each party.
What Types of Compensation are Available in a Los Angeles Rear-End Accident Case
Personal injury matters have damage awards that are made up of three types of damages:
Economic damages are the ones that are tangible and can be calculated. These are items like medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. Non-economic damages address things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium, which is referred to as the loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages are only awarded in limited instances and they are designed to “punish” the defendant. California Civil Code §3294 covers punitive damages which are defined as damages that are a result of the defendant’s fraudulent, malicious, or oppressive behavior. Punitive damages must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.
Common Types of Injuries in a Rear-End Accident
Even a minor collision at five miles per hour can cause some injuries, like whiplash. No two accidents are the same, and therefore no two injuries are identical. Plaintiffs who have pre-existing conditions or are older could have more serious complaints as opposed to a young teenager with no current health problems.
Because rear-end collisions occur in a split second, a body’s neck and head experience a high amount of force in an extremely short period of time. Your spine, muscles, and tendons brace for impact, which can produce damage to the skeletal system and the nerves surrounding it. This is one reason why whiplash and spinal injuries are so common.
Other common injuries in a rear-end accident include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Brain injury
People who have time to brace for the impact are more likely to have less severe injuries than someone who had no idea the accident was about to happen.
It’s important to remember that it can take up to a few days before you realize how injured you are. Adrenaline and other natural body responses can mask the symptoms, and you may not even realize you have whiplash or back pain right away.
This is why it’s important to go to the doctor following a rear-end collision, and do not make any statements at the scene to the effect that you are not injured at all.
What Factors Can Impact Injury Severity
There are a number of factors that can influence how severely someone is injured in a rear-end accident:
- How fast the vehicles were traveling
- Impact location
- Direction of impact
- Whether the airbag deployed
- Vehicle weight
- Seatbelts in use
- Seat position — including seat back angle, headrest height
How Can You Protect Yourself in a Rear-End Collision?
The position of your vehicle’s headrest can play an important role in the event you are struck from behind. The headrest is what helps prevent your head from overextending. If it’s too low, it can result in more serious injuries. Your head could roll over the top and that type of painful hyperextension can cause significant injuries.
Make sure you are not tailgating when you drive. Following the vehicle in front of you too closely can result in your rear ending a vehicle in the event of a sudden stop. Or, you could be pushed into the vehicle in front of you if you are hit from behind. Sudden braking can also increase your risk of being in a rear-end accident.
Slow down in school zones, parks, neighborhoods, or other places where many kids congregate. Don’t let yourself get distracted by your cell phone and texting either.
Set up a Complimentary Consultation with a Rear-End Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
In the event you were injured in a rear-end accident, you need skilled and compassionate representation from an experienced lawyer. At the Dolan Law Firm, our Los Angeles rear-end accident attorneys have the necessary experience and skills to assist with your current legal needs. Please use our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. With a professional team of skilled trial lawyers, we’ve already recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.