Generally speaking, under California law, if someone hits you from behind, the accident is virtually always that driver's fault, regardless of the reason you stopped. Our San Diego car accident lawyer notes the basic rule of the road requires that a driver be able to stop safely if a vehicle stops ahead of the driver. If the driver cannot stop, he is not driving as safely as the person in front of him. Usually, unsafe speed is a factor as to why the rear-end collision occurred in the first place.
Vehicle Damage Proves How the Rear-End Accident Happened
The other part of a California rear-end accident is that the vehicle damage proves how the accident happened. If the other car's front end and your car's rear end are both damaged, there can be no doubt that you were struck from the rear. Usually, because the other driver was speeding or not paying attention, or both.
In some situations, both you and the car behind you will be hit when a third car runs into the car behind you and pushes it into the rear of your car. In that case, it is the driver of the third car who is at fault and against whose liability insurance you would file a claim. This is also known as an accordion-type car crash. You will usually be asked how many impacts from behind you felt. Usually, if you felt one impact, the assumption again is it was the third vehicle's fault.
Common Injuries Suffered in California Rear-End Collisions
Even at low speeds, rear-end collisions can lead to serious and debilitating injuries. Some of the common injuries that occur include:
- Neck, back, and spinal injuries. Even if vehicles are traveling at a slow speed at the time of the collision, the force of it can strain or tear back muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and cause compression of vertebrae and discs.
- Whiplash. Perhaps the most reported injury in these accidents, whiplash is caused by a violent jerk of a victim’s neck when his vehicle is struck. Symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, and limitation of movement. While some individuals can recover within a few weeks or months, others experience chronic pain and complications that last a year or longer.
- Bone fractures. Bones in the hands, legs, arms, feet, spine, and ribcage can be broken or fractured. While some broken bones heal quickly when put in a cast, others require surgery, braces, and other medical procedures. If there are complications or the bones don't heal properly, a victim can suffer long-term pain and limitations in movement that affect the quality of life.
- Paralysis. One of the most traumatic injuries caused by these accidents is partial or total paralysis. A victim could need life-long expensive medical treatments and round-the-clock assistance with daily needs.
- Facial injuries.
- Hand, wrist, and arm injuries.