Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident in Los Angeles, CA?

Accidents occur every day, particularly in crowded metropolitan areas like Los Angeles. Rear-end collisions are among the most common of these accidents. When a rear-end collision happens, it can leave all those involved wondering who may be at fault for the accident. While the circumstances of each accident are unique, a Los Angeles car accident attorney can tell you that the trailing driver is generally found to be at fault.

Determining Fault in Los Angeles Car Accidents

California law dictates that if a driver is found to be at fault for an accident, they are responsible for paying any damages associated with that accident. These could include damage to personal property, other vehicles, and the costs associated with any injuries suffered. However, insurance companies will attempt to determine negligence before covering these costs.

Because California operates as a comparative fault state, drivers may not be held 100% responsible for costs. If they are determined to be 60% negligent while another party is 40% negligent, the financial responsibilities will also be divided as such. When receiving a driver’s license, each driver agrees to drive in accordance with local and state laws to keep themselves and other drivers reasonably safe.

Negligence is determined when it can be proven that a driver failed to meet this obligation. This could include running a traffic sign, speeding, following another driver too closely, and more.

Fault in a Rear-End Collision

The fault in a rear-end collision generally falls to the driver who is behind the other car. There is an assumption that a tailing driver will keep a safe distance from the driver in front of them. This is to account for appropriate reaction times if the driver ahead must brake quickly, swerve to avoid something, or more. However, there are circumstances where, if proven, the lead driver could be held accountable for an accident. Situations where this happens include when the driver “brake-checks” another driver or stops for no reason.

Unfortunately, in many of these types of accidents, proving fault requires evidence that could be difficult to acquire. This could lead to an aggressive fight between both parties that takes a significant amount of time to settle. In many accidents of this type, evidence can come from street cameras, dash cameras, or witness statements. Unfortunately, without these to support your version of events, it is one driver’s word against the other.

Multi-Car Rear-End Collisions

In some cases, multiple cars could be involved in the accident. Sometimes referred to as a “pileup,” determining fault can be somewhat tricky. In many scenarios, the car in front is not found at fault. Instead, the car in the middle is often found to be the most at fault. The third car could be found partially at fault.

In this situation, the car in front, if its driver followed all traffic laws and did not engage in any of the above behaviors, would be found not at fault. The second driver, if they were the first car to impact another, could be found at fault not only for the collision with the car in front of them but also for the car behind them. The third car could be held partially at fault if they were following too closely and unable to avoid the collision.

However, in this same situation, if the second driver was able to stop and was then hit by the third driver, who then pushed them into the first driver, the third driver could carry the majority of the fault for all three vehicles involved. No matter the circumstances, collecting all the evidence and details of your accident scene can help you defend your side of the accident.

What To Do After a Rear-End Collision in Los Angeles, CA

If you are involved in a rear-end collision, the most important thing to do is seek medical treatment for any injuries. Keep in mind that some injuries do not immediately present themselves, so seeing a medical professional is always recommended. After that, be sure to document the scene and collect evidence, including taking photos, collecting witness contact information, and exchanging information with other involved drivers. Then, contact an attorney who can help you navigate not only insurance claims but also any negotiations with other involved parties.


How Much Do Car Accident Attorneys Charge in California?

Attorney fees for a car accident attorney will vary based on the circumstances of your case. However, attorneys generally charge a fee of 33% to 40% of any settlement that their client may receive. However, this is not fixed, and it is crucial to discuss attorney fees upfront with any potential lawyer you may hire for your claim.

How Much Can Someone Sue for a Car Accident in California?

The circumstances of each case will determine the amount that a person may seek in a claim against another in their car accident. Ranging from $5,000 to upwards of $1,000,000, the amount of the claim will be determined by the damages suffered as a result of the accident as well as the determination of fault. A claim may include damages for medical expenses, lost wages, personal property damage, and more.

How Much Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in CA?

There is no standard settlement amount for a California car accident claim. The damages suffered will determine the potential amount that a person could receive. In general, a settlement may average around $21,000. However, settlements could be significantly higher or lower. Your attorney can review the circumstances of your case to help give you an idea of how much you may receive.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault in California?

While it may seem cost-effective to avoid hiring an attorney after a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be caught off guard if the at-fault party decides to fight their responsibility or refuses to pay for the damages they are responsible for. With the help of an attorney, you can work through difficulties with the other party as well as with any insurance companies that are involved.

Contact A Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Today

If you are involved in a rear-end collision or any type of car accident, you should get the help that you deserve from a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Contact Belgum, Fry & Van Allen, and let our team help recover the damages that you may be owed.