Who’s at Fault for a Rear-End Collision in San Diego?
One of the most common types of car accidents in San Diego is the rear-end collision. San Diego car accident attorneys handle dozens of these cases every year. Rear end accidents usually take place at red lights or in bumper to bumper traffic. They’re usually caused by negligence,
Some of the common reasons for rear-end collisions include:
- Distracted driving
- Faulty brakes
- Drunk driving
- Careless driving
Basically, someone isn’t paying attention to the road and ends up hitting the car in front of them. This is why the rear driver is almost always held responsible for these accidents. The rear driver would have to prove that the front driver did something special to cause the accident.
Your San Diego car accident lawyer will have to prove that the person behind you was responsible for the accident. He’ll do this by proving negligence.
How Do You Prove Negligence?
In order to show negligence, your San Diego car accident will have to demonstrate the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- He breached this duty
- You were injured
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach
A duty of care is the responsibility a defendant has toward the plaintiff. Car drivers have a duty to obey all traffic laws and to use common sense when they get behind the wheel. If someone hits you from behind and causes damage to your car, they’ll be responsible for reimbursing you.
How does a defendant breach this duty?
A defendant breaches his duty when he doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do. When a driver texts and drives, he breaches his duty of care. When he doesn’t stop in time, he’ll be held liable for your injuries.
You have to be injured.
You can’t sue someone just because they’ve breached their duty of care. Also, you need to actually be injured if you expect to file a claim against the defendant or their insurance company.
Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach.
You do need to show a link between the defendant’s behavior and your injuries. It’s not always so obvious. The defendant may also claim that your injuries were caused some other way. For example, he may claim you got into a separate accident after the one the two of you were involved in.
Can the Defendant Say You Were at Fault?
As is the case with most car accident cases, the other driver is going to insist that you were at fault. He’ll say that you should be paying for his injuries, not the other way around. Some of the excuses the defendant may make include:
- Your brake lights weren’t working
- You slammed on your brakes
- The light wasn’t red – there was no reason for you to stop
- Someone in front of you actually caused a chain reaction
If any of these things are true, you may be held partially at fault. In California, there is something called comparative negligence. This means that your jury award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if your brake lights weren’t working, you may be held partially at fault for the accident. Let’s say that that court finds you’re 30% at fault. Your judgment will be reduced by 30%.
Now, keep in mind, the defendant still has to prove that you were at fault. Also, since most cases are settled out of court, there won’t be a matter of a jury award. Your attorney will also negotiate a settlement with the defendant’s attorney that accounts for this possibility.
Call and Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you or a family member have gotten into a rear-end collision, you should call a San Diego car accident attorney. Schedule your initial consultation today. You can sit down with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can answer any questions you may have. He can also review your case and let you know what it may be worth.
Most rear-end car accidents only involve minor injuries and minimal property damage. This means your case won’t be worth as much as you may think. Your lawyer can only get you damages for the losses you actually suffered.
Lastly, call today and schedule your consultation. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case. The other driver is also going to have a lawyer working for him and you should too.