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Posted in Car Accident on December 10, 2019
Rear-end collisions are common types of car accidents in California. They can cause injuries to the back and neck, such as whiplash, as well as other parts of the body. A rear-end accident can also cause expensive damage to both vehicles. In California, it is necessary to identify fault for a car accident before filing an insurance claim. The insurer of the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying for victims’ damages under California’s fault law. Contrary to popular belief, the rear driver does not automatically bear fault for a rear-end car accident.
The common assumption is that a rear driver will always be at fault for a rear-end car accident. While this is not always true, it is the case the majority of the time. The rear driver is responsible for keeping a safe following distance and watching the road. Breaching these responsibilities is a common cause of rear-end collisions. A distracted, drowsy, drunk or negligent rear driver may not see the lead vehicle stop in time to hit the brakes and prevent a collision. These types of accidents would be the rear driver’s fault for not paying enough attention to the road.
A rear-end collision could also be the rear driver’s fault if he or she had bad brakes. Bad brakes could cause a rear-end auto accident by preventing the driver from being able to stop suddenly enough to avoid a crash. Bad brakes are preventable with proper vehicle maintenance. Rear-end accidents due to bad brakes or brake failure could be the rear driver’s fault if he or she failed to maintain the vehicle.
During an auto insurance claim for a rear-end collision, the insurance provider will not assume the fault of the rear driver. Instead, a claims adjuster will investigate the accident to determine fault. The insurance company may then refute the fault of its policyholder if it believes the lead driver to be fully or partially responsible for the collision. The lead driver could be at fault for the rear-end collision in a few different scenarios.
Fault for a rear-end auto accident in California is not automatic. Although the rear driver is the most likely candidate for a defendant, the lead driver could also bear some or all of the fault if he or she was negligent or reckless in causing the collision. If you get into a rear-end accident and do not believe you were at fault, hire an attorney to help you investigate the crash and defend your side of the case. Otherwise, your insurance company may end up paying for an accident you did not cause.