Rear-end collisions, also known as “fender benders,” occur when one vehicle strikes the back of another vehicle. According to the California Highway Patrol, rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident in the state, accounting for approximately 29% of all accidents in 2019. These types of accidents can range in severity from minor to serious, and can result in significant injuries and damages.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
There are several common causes of rear-end collisions in California. Distracted driving is a major factor, with the use of cell phones while driving being prohibited by California Vehicle Code section 23123. Following too closely, or tailgating, is also a common cause of rear-end collisions and is prohibited by California Vehicle Code section 21703. Speeding is another factor that can contribute to rear-end collisions, and is regulated by California Vehicle Code section 22350. Impairment by drugs or alcohol can also increase the likelihood of a rear-end collision and is prohibited by California Vehicle Code section 23152.
Injuries and Damages Caused by Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions can result in a variety of injuries, including whiplash, back and neck injuries, and head injuries. According to data from the California Highway Patrol, these types of injuries accounted for approximately 47% of all injuries resulting from car accidents in the state in 2019. Property damage to vehicles is also common in rear-end collisions, with repair costs often being significant. According to data from the insurance industry, the average cost of repairing a vehicle involved in a rear-end collision is approximately $3,500.
Liability in Rear-End Collision Cases
In California, fault in car accident cases is determined by the principle of negligence, which is codified in California Civil Code section 1714. Under this principle, a driver is considered negligent if they fail to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle, and their negligence causes an accident. In a rear-end collision case, the driver of the rear vehicle is typically considered to be at fault, unless there are extenuating circumstances that would shift fault to the front driver. Factors that may be considered in determining fault in a rear-end collision case include the speed of the vehicles, the conditions of the road and weather, and the actions of the drivers involved.
Steps to Take After a Rear-End Collision in California
If you are involved in a rear-end collision in California, there are several steps you should take to protect your rights and seek damages:
Seek medical attention. Even if you do not believe you were injured, it is important to have a medical evaluation to ensure that any injuries are identified and treated.
Report the accident to the authorities. California Vehicle Code section 20008 requires drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to report the accident to the police.
Document the accident. It is important to document the circumstances of the accident, including the location, time, weather conditions, and any damages or injuries sustained. California Vehicle Code section 16000 requires drivers involved in an accident to exchange information and file a written report with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days if there were any injuries or property damage.
Contact an attorney. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the process of seeking damages for your injuries and damages, and can ensure that your rights are protected. California Business and Professions Code section 6147 requires attorneys to be licensed by the state.
Our office has litigated many rear-end collisions throughout California. Contact our office for a free consultation.