Car accidents are frequent in California. In areas with busy traffic, like San Diego, dealing with a rear end collision or a fender bender accident is part of the daily routine for the law enforcement officers. Although the general opinion is that rear end accidents are automatically the fault of the driver who rear ends the car in front of them, this does not always hold true.
Were you involved in a rear end accident in San Diego? Before assuming or attributing liability for the accident, you should consult a San Diego car accident attorney to become familiar with the concept of negligence and the exceptions to the rule that the rear driver is always responsible for an accident.
The Concept of Negligence in a San Diego Rear End Collision
In California car accident laws, the concept of negligence refers to drivers’ failure to exercise reasonable care. In order to escape liability and obtain fair compensation for a rear end accident, you have to show that the other driver did not exercise the care any other driver or reasonable person would have exercised or considered reasonable in the same situation and by doing so, their actions caused the accident. This usually involves following the three steps described below:
- Show that all drivers have the duty to act in a certain way
This includes using a signal when changing lanes, maintaining cars in good functioning order, and more. Traffic rules cover most of these duties, so it should not be very difficult.
- Prove that the other driver failed to comply with this duty
Here are a few things that may qualify as negligence and deem drivers fully or partly responsible for a car accident:
- Not paying attention to the road and not looking out for potential hazards
- Not stopping within reasonable time
- Not adjusting speed to the road and traffic conditions
- Failure to maintain vehicle control
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to use signals when turning and changing lanes
As proof, the parties can use witness testimonies, dashboard camera recordings or video footage from nearby surveillance cameras.
- Prove that the accident would not have taken place, had it not been for the other driver’s negligence
This step will depend on the circumstances of the accident and may require presenting witness and expert testimonies, video recordings, and even similar case precedents. That is why it always helps to work with an experienced San Diego car accident attorney.
If you are not yet sure how the above information applies to your particular case and whether you should hire a car accident lawyer, perhaps looking at how fault is usually established in a San Diego rear end collision will help.
Establishing Fault for a San Diego Rear End Accident
In most cases, the driver of the car rear ending the vehicle in front of them is at least partly at fault for the accident for failing to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them. Drivers have the duty to maintain a safe distance from the cars in front of them, to have enough time and distance to react in case the car in front of them stops, slows down, changes lanes, or turns suddenly. Failure to do so qualifies as negligence.
However, rear end collisions occur even when drivers maintain a safe distance from the cars in front of them. Sometimes, the driver of the leading car can be accused of negligence, as well. Consider the following scenarios:
- The leading car reverses suddenly
- The leading car’s brake lights do not function properly
- The leading driver stops to make a turn but fails to complete it
- After getting a flat tire, the leading driver does not pull the car over and does not turn on the hazard lights.
Do any of these scenarios come close to the circumstances of your San Diego rear end accident? Then you should not accept or attribute liability without discussing your case with an experienced attorney.
According to California laws, the percentage of damages each party has to cover is equivalent to the attributed fault. Your goal should be to prove as much negligence and fault on the other driver’s behalf as possible and dismount all accusations against you, and a lawyer can definitely help with that.
Discuss Your Rear End Collision with a HURT NOW San Diego Car Accident Attorney
Before you file the claim or settle for your San Diego rear end collision, discuss your options with a HURT NOW car accident attorney. The first consultation is FREE, and you can schedule it now by reaching out to our San Diego office today.