Rear-End Accident & Tailgater Injury Attorneys
[Content Updated 04/16/2021] Welcome to the Ehline Law Firm’s comprehensive web page dealing with catastrophic rear-end accidents and fender benders. Was your car hit in its rear end during a car crash by a tailgating driver or a speeder? Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers count rear-enders among the most common type of Los Angeles accident claims we take. Our rear-impact motor vehicle accident personal injury attorneys commonly assist victims. Our past clients suffered harm during a rear-end collision, suffering injuries ranging from soreness, and whiplash, to wrongful death. If you or your close family member seek a free consultation to learn about paying for your property damage, lost wages, and medical expenses after a car accident, it's covered below.
Our car accident attorney has found many unsavory, careless motorists regularly engage in tailgating for various reasons. Every veteran driver in L.A. has glanced in their rearview mirror or side mirrors and discovered a vehicle following behind, riding their vehicle's back bumper. Los Angeles motor vehicle operators with cars following threateningly close behind them should feel concerned about a car crash. Anytime you see a vehicle tailgating behind you, this sight should raise your alarm. You are now in grave danger, which is one reason tailgating (a form of reckless driving) is illegal under California law.
Another driver engaging in this often angry and aggressive driving tactic can frustrate, annoy, and frighten the front vehicle driver as their muscles become tense and their adrenaline begins pumping. For you, it's natural to think "fight or flight." Over the years, news stories have revealed that reckless motorists behaving so dangerously will cause other road users severe injuries or wrongful death. Your smart move is to yield your vehicle when safe.
If you or a loved one is suffering from injuries or losses resulting from a Los Angeles rear-end accident, California law entitles you to seek compensation for fatalities, serious injuries, medical/wage losses, and other damages. Below our award-winning car accident law firm will discuss your rights, duties, and obligations as a motorist injured during a motor vehicle collision after being hit in the rear while navigating traffic stopped at a light or curb.
At the end of this article, we will invite you to receive a free case evaluation from a highly talented car accident attorney specializing in severe injury cases. If you are satisfied with their legal advice, these Los Angeles car accident lawyers will handle your case from there.
Rear-End Accident Attorney Index Guide:
What Are Rear-End Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end accidents are reported more than any other vehicle collision in the State of California. When something strikes the rear of a motorized vehicle, whether it be another vehicle or your car hitting an object/person while reversing, a "rear-end" auto collision has happened. Distracted driving actions and inactions cause most rear-enders. Like the rest of the nation, rear-end accidents made up the greatest percentage of LA County traffic collisions at 30.45%.
Type of Collision - 2018-2020
C - Rear End
D - Broadside
B - Sideswipe
G - Vehicle/Pedestrian
A - Head-On
E - Hit Object
H - Other
F - Overturned
'- - Not Stated
Why Do Airbags Rarely Deploy In Rear Enders?
Modernly, most engineers design vehicle airbags to protect vehicle occupants during a front-end accident/head-on collision. Safety experts are in consensus that any benefit of airbags deploying during rear-end accidents remain negligible at best. Hence, crash impact dynamics dictate your airbags will rarely activate during a purely rear-end collision. (Source AA1Car).
- What Are The Reported Los Angeles Airbag Deployment Rates For 2018-2020 Rear-End Crashes?
The CHP found that airbags failed to deploy in 51,595 rear-end car accident claims, equaling 66.73% of all Los Angeles County rear-enders. We must sometimes assume airbags will deploy secondarily during a rear-ender. (16,129 rear-end accident-related airbag deployments, equating to 20.86% or rear-end auto crashes) Sometimes your airbag will deploy when rear parts of the car get struck other than your bumper. Other times, multiple vehicle collisions arise from the same crash, including multiple vehicles striking different rear sections of your vehicle. (Ex: Side and frontal vehicle impacts).
Common Injuries Sustained During Los Angeles Rear-End Accidents?
Rear-end collisions are known causes of traumatic injuries, especially during a higher speed car crash. Many accident victims will suffer upper and lower back injuries and tendon, ligament, and muscle strains. Depending on the severity of the impact, these accidents can lead to permanent injuries and fatalities.
Different types of car accidents will cause crash victims varying types of injuries for differing kinds of people (See eggshell skull theory here), with the majority of individuals suffering:
- Neck injuries, including whiplash (which remains very common in rear-ender auto accident cases),
- Back Injuries, including spinal cord injuries like slipped discs or a bulging disc, or another soft tissue injury,
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI))
- Broken bones, including a fractured ankle, foot, hand, or wrist, pelvis, or even a crushed or broken skull,
- Lacerations, including deep cuts, puncture wounds, internal and external bleeding/hemorrhaging,
- Amputation, including deglove injury, missing digits, and limbs.
What Are Some Less Frequent Rear-End Auto Accident Injuries?
- Wrongful Death.
With your health at stake, a highly successful personal injury claim requires help from experienced car accident attorneys.
What Are Some Los Angeles Rear-End Accident Statistics?
Federal NHTSA reported statistics to indicate around 2.5 million rear-impact collisions occur annually in the U.S.A. Our experts have calculated that it means about six people die in a rear-ender per one million registered vehicles.
In Los Angeles County, from 2018-2020, SWITRS reported 168,240 motor vehicle wrecks with 2,091 victims killed and 242,529 people (including pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and bicyclists) injured.
Our of these above numbers, rear-enders made up:
Los Angeles County Rear-End Collisions: 51,228,
Total Victims: 207 Killed With 77,122 Injured
Main Human Factor Causing Rear-End Car Accidents?
The number one cause of rear-end accidents is distracted driving or inattentiveness.
Inattentive/Distracted Driving And Rear End-Collisions
Distracted driving remains the single most common component of all traffic accidents. A vehicle operator's failure to pay attention since the advent of cell phones has made them the one distraction for drivers. (including talking, texting, and driving). Carmakers have added other technological equipment to vehicles, like GPS, increasing driving distractions. But our Los Angeles injury lawyers can help you shed light on your problem, so let's go!
- Top Distractions Causing Rear-End Accidents
Cell Phones, texting, and other technology onboard newer cars can take your eyes off the road. As we discussed, a key contributing factor with rear-end accidents is using smartphones while driving. Although California law bans driving using cellphones, texting, or wireless devices, eating, and teen distracted driving continues causing most traffic accidents in California. (Read more about inattentive driving accidents here).
What Are The Top Six Common Causes Of Los Angeles Rear-End Car Accidents?
Vehicle Code violations typically arise from a person's gross negligence or inattentiveness. Traffic safety experts cite data showing that drivers texting, being high on drugs, using alcohol, and playing with the radio dial are the leading causes of Los Angeles rear-ender accidents.
CHP's top six reported causes of Los Angeles County to rear-end collisions from 2018-2020.
Speeding In Your Vehicle
Any little distraction may cause you to ignore how fast your car is traveling. California defines excessive speed 22350 Speeding on the highway / Driving at a dangerously high speed given highway conditions like weather, visibility, traffic, and highway measurements, or driving at a rate that endangers people or property.
Unsafe speed accounted for 36,486 of Los Angeles County, California rear-end collisions from 2018-2020, equating to 71.43% of all L.A. County rear-enders.
Tailgating (Following Too Closely)
When a driver suddenly hits the brakes or other road hazard forces evasive action, you can crash. While no law exists telling you what a safe following distance is, tailgating is illegal in California. You licensed drivers already know that California Vehicle Code Section 21703 outlaws vehicles following other vehicles too closely.
- Accidents: Following too closely reportedly caused 4,699 Los Angeles County to rear-end accidents, totaling 9.20% of those traffic collisions. Most vehicles crashing in rear-enders will be smaller passenger vehicles.
- Deaths: Crashing while tailgating or following too closely killed nearly 2,500 individuals nationwide in 2017. (Source: Insurance Information Institute (III) data). If you fail to leave a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, your risks of crashing exponentially increase.
You must use common sense and experience to determine how much room you should leave based upon road conditions, including:
- Traffic speed and congestion: With rear-end collisions, speed remains a crucial factor. Generally, the faster you drive, the more space you should leave between you and the front-facing car you're traveling behind. Most motorists remain prone to misjudge traffic speed when approaching stopped vehicles, a significant cause of rear-end impact collisions.
- Weather conditions: If rain, sleet, snow, or black ice conditions remain present, a driver following too closely may not be able to stop on wet, slippery, icy roads safely.
- Road maintenance issues: Traveling through a construction zone, especially riding a motorcycle, road debris, open trenches, and poor signage can be a death sentence, causing sudden stops and rear and pile-ups.
- DUI Drivers: Traffic experts know driving under the influence can impact traffic condition reaction times, including vehicle operator depth perception, leading to many rear-end collisions.
How Does Ehline Law Hold Tailgating Drivers Liable For Causing Damages?
Tailgating can cause fellow drivers severe injuries and death. Assuming the tailgater received a traffic citation for speeding under Vehicle Code Section 21703, the criminal court will decide what the driver's reasonable following distance would have been prudent based on the surrounding circumstances. Civil courts may use the same formula or evidence of the defendant's criminal conviction to determine liability (See negligence per se below).
If a tailgater rear-ended your car, a civil or criminal jury would likely find the defendant negligent, grossly negligent, or reckless. For a plaintiff to establish tailgating collision negligence, their adept injury lawyer must prove the defendant breached their duty of using reasonable care, and their breach of duty was the cause of your injury claim or death action. The attentive, caring Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Ehline Law Firm help advise car accident victims wounded in tailgating accidents. Our lead counsel will explain their legal options.
Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Alcohol (DUI)
In Los Angeles County, DUI drivers were responsible for causing 2,944 rear-end accidents (5.76%) from 2018-2020. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, driving or bicycle riding under the influence of alcohol (BAC 0.08+) or drugs is illegal, reckless, and a top hit and run driver motive to flee an accident scene.
Unsafe Turning Maneuvers
Under California Vehicle Code Section 22107, unsafe turning or moving right or left on a roadway without signaling is unlawful. From 2018-2021, improper turning caused 2,175 rear-end collisions, making up 4.26% of countywide rear-end crashes.
Unsafe Lane Change
Coming in at the number five of the top six rear-end accident causes in L.A. County is making an unsafe lane change. Unsafe lane changes were connected with 1,448 Los Angeles rear-end collisions from 2018-2019. (2.83%).
The illegal act of making an unsafe lane change under Vehicle Code Section 22107 defines unsafe turning or moving right or left on a roadway without signaling. It could get the front car partially broadsided or sideswiped by the rear advancing vehicles legally in their lanes of travel.
Unsafely Backing Up Your Vehicle
Our number six top cause of Los Angeles County rear-end collisions was unsafe starting or backing up under California Vehicle Code Section 22106. The law bars drivers from unsafely starting or backing vehicles out from a driveway, parking stall, etc., onto a highway. (Learn more here about unsafe backing up incidents).
Children are the biggest losers here, with adults failing to check behind them for that Big Wheel or Scooter Bound toddler.
Minor Visual Vehicle Damage Could Still Mean Huge Bodily Injuries?
Yes. Modern manufacturers build cars in such a way that could make you think your ok after crashing since your vehicle looks ok. You are playing into the adjuster's hands by buying into this uninformed trap for the unwary. Why? The same insurance company denying your bodily injury claims saying the car behind you or your car was barely damaged, that's who!
The amount of your vehicle damage or injuries suffered generally depends on:
- Speed the autos are traveling and;
- Whether or not automakers appropriately designed your motor vehicle's rear bumper for traffic safety.
Our lawyers find the manufacturer's limited scope of duty astonishing. They must only design rear bumpers to absorb tiny bumps.
Are My Car's Bumpers Only Required To Absorb A 5MPH Impact?
Bumpers only need to consume a five-mile-per-hour impact. (See source). Collisions of over five miles per hour happen a lot, which means drivers and passengers face severe injuries at speeds as slow as 15-30 mph.
Over time, cars have been re-designed, and newer, lighter materials were during manufacturing, sometimes making vehicles safer and other times making rear bumper less reliable during impacts and road collisions.
Most of all, the rear bumper of a motor vehicle should compress upon impact to absorb low-speed impact collisions. When manufacturers purposely design rear car bumpers to absorb less impact, we have safety issues. And this will often result in the driver and any passengers feeling the force of the impact.
What Was The Insidious Reason Behind Strengthening Rear Car Bumpers?
We know that protecting humans was never the goal behind the rear bumper design and manufacturing regulations. The automakers bowed to insurance companies, leading the fight years ago to make bumpers stronger. These Fortune 500 companies did this to help auto insurers cut down property damage claims. But once legislators helped insurance companies eliminate crumple zones, a new vehicle occupant protection movement arose. Now, consumer attorneys like Ehline Law are fighting for safer bumpers, demanding higher standards during manufacturing.
- Don't Let Lack Of Rear Bumper Damage Excuse The Adjuster From Paying Your Injury Claim!
Ehline Law Firm has dealt with many of these claims, and often, we are forced into battle by adjusters who argue vehicle damages are inconsistent with our client's claimed injuries. This insurance company's argument holds little water because a stiffened bumper absorbs less crash force, sending an energy shock wave and inertia into the vehicle's occupants. Eliminating crumple zones increased low-impact crash injuries.
Why Choose Our Superior Car Accident Lawyer To Deal With The Insurance Company?
As discussed, insurance companies would trip over $50 to save a dime in many situations, presenting a severe issue for drivers involved in rear-end collisions. Vehicle bumpers will protect the vehicle and cut down on damage claims to the car. But insurance companies use the lack of visible bumper damage to evade paying injury claims. Many insurance companies will argue no vehicle damage to support an injury. So they will say there is little to no visible wear.
Hence, the occupants in the auto could not have sustained injuries. But from a victim's medical standpoint, this will not always be true. First of all, there is no visible damage to occupants' vehicles, so it doesn't look like anyone could have suffered severe injuries. But your human body is not able to absorb these impacts, even at low speeds.
The Insurance Adjuster Works For The Insurance Company, Not You
The insurance adjuster is one of the insurance company employees. And they should assess damages both to a vehicle and the occupants properly. But they will always attempt to reduce what their employer pays for damages. Rear-end collisions may seem clear-cut, but this is not still the case if there are serious injuries. But a driver must be in control of their vehicle at all times. The truth is, the insurance company will use sneaky tactics to make simple issues complicated.
Insurers don't enjoy paying victims compensation, so will they fight to avoid paying you a fair sum. And this is why you must retain legal representation from a skilled auto accident lawyer at Ehline Law Firm. We can help you ensure the injured party and their loved ones will receive a full and fair settlement payment. And we will take the time to listen to you.
"Problem-solving is part of why we became famous" - Michael Ehline
We Are Experts At Determining Fault In A Rear-End Collision
Yes, we are. After you receive your free legal consultation and tell our caring, attentive staff about your potential lawsuit, or government claim, we will render our opinion.
If you elect to retain our contingency fee attorneys to assist your rear-end accident liability investigation, we may hire specialists called experts, including:
- Biomechanical engineers,
- Accident reconstructionists,
- Traffic safety engineers,
- Structural experts.
Depending on your type of insurance claim, or severe injury case, these expensive experts and others may be required to prove your accident case's evidentiary burden.
Who Can I Sue For Causing My Rear-End Crash Claim?
In a nutshell, you or your attorney can sue all negligent parties, jointly and severally, for the injuries they caused you to suffer.
- All rear-end accidents have one common connection: "Negligence."
Sometimes the fault-party is easy to identify. As an example, let's say you were stopped or slowing down for an approaching red light. Now let's assume and a teen driver is chatting on their phone, acting carelessly, as they sway into you, striking your rear bumper without slowing. That's a case of clear liability. The person who struck your car was careless, so their insurance must pay up!
Because of this, you can sue the driver of the vehicle or bring an insurance claim to try and settle first. Who else can you sue? You can also sue the other driver's employer sometimes, as well as other third parties, including government agencies like CalTrans, for example.
Does Negligence Per Se Means Courts Will Presume The Other Driver Was At Fault For My Collision?
Yes, under California Evidence Code section 669, when another driver fails to exercise reasonable care, they are presumed civilly negligent if they violated a law.
Your lawyer must prove:
- Defendant proximately caused a death or injury,
- The plaintiff's injury or death resulted from an accident the legislature designed the was to prevent. ,
- The accident victim, a class member, the legislature enacted the law to protect.
In the above example, a court may find a rebuttable presumption that the civil defendant was negligent. Once the civil court adopts the statutory criminal standard of reasonable care (safety laws, code, or regulation), you will have better positioned yourself for a full and fair liability finding.
(Ex: If the defendant received a citation for violating section 21703, you could argue liability exists doctrine of negligence per se).
A plaintiff successfully establishing negligence, or negligence per se is authorized to seek reasonable and necessary compensatory amounts from the at-fault party. We lawyers call this "damages." Juries and judges will include damages compensation payments in the plaintiff's personal injury case award.
- Special damages will include medical bills, lost income, household services, and property damage,
- General damages will include money for the plaintiff's pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. Your final general damages amount will dramatically vary depending on your jury's composition, personal injury lawyer, court location, and jurors. (Jurors will likely use their subjective impressions in deciding who was negligent for causing their portion of the fault in a typical tailgating accident).
Our world-famous legal team routinely engages in detailed, intricate insurance company settlement negotiations. We have zero fear of filing your claim as a court lawsuit if the insurer fails to pay your full claim value. Do or die. We remain prepared to litigate your case in Los Angeles Superior Court. Our dream team will diligently work in all car accident cases, listen and hold our client's hand until these customers obtain just compensation under California law.
What About Multi-Car Accidents? Who Pays?
As we previously noted, others besides the car that hit you or others driving others cars that hit you must pay for their portion of fault for causing your collision. Let's look at chain vehicle accident collisions as an example. In this common scenario, a multi-car accident will be triggered after vehicle one strikes a vehicle two, and vehicle two strikes vehicle three, or some variation.
Here, several unsuspecting, moving vehicles crashed into each other, pedestrians, bicyclists, and fixed objects like benches or light poles. The initial inertia and force push the cars into motorists and things, triggering a chain reaction. How do you determine fault in these tricky situations?
Let's say vehicle one gets sandwiched between two and three, stuck in the middle. Here, the only car driver without fault is vehicle two because it maintained a safe distance not to be pushed into another object. The driver in vehicle one is on the hook to vehicle two, and the driver of vehicle three is liable to vehicle two. However, if vehicle three's impact force was so great it caused a secondary accordion crash between vehicle one at two, the first two-vehicle owners can sue vehicle three. Are you getting this so far?
Can Rear Struck Vehicles Ever Be At Fault For Causing Their Rear-Ender?
Yes! In some cases, the car driver who was hit from behind may be partially or fully at fault in a rear-end accident if they negligently or carelessly stopped suddenly.
What Are Sudden Stop Car Accident Triggers?
Sudden stops can be triggered in many ways. When they do happen, sometimes the struck vehicle suddenly stops for zero good reasons. Sometimes their vehicle's rapid deceleration will impede vehicle traffic to their rear, making effective evasive action impossible.
Common Reasons for Sudden Stop Crashes Include:
- Front car, truck, or bus is a road rage driver,
- Front car's brake lights malfunctions,
- Front car mechanical problems, including bad brakes, blown clutch/transmissions,
- The front car failing to pull the vehicle stopped in the road over to the shoulder after crashing or experiencing mechanical problems.
Note: Leaving the scene of an accident without helping and exchanging info could subject you to criminal hit and run charges, and this could have some bearing on civil fault in a later lawsuit for money damages.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Sometimes, as discussed, there could be multiple parties all bearing a portion of fault. And yes, occasionally, the victim shares a part of that responsibility. California considers it unjust to make a defendant pay for 100% of the damage when a plaintiff may have caused 10%. This situation is where our lawyers use California’s pure comparative negligence law. Here, the court will reduce the driver's recovery based upon their percentage of fault a court or jury assigns them.
If the fact-finder gives 10% fault to the hit car operator and 90% fault to the rear vehicle, the hit driver will receive 10% less compensation. In this example, the plaintiff will receive $90,000 from a damages award of $100,000. If we negotiated with the insurance adjuster over portions of fault, we would settle based on a fairly apportioned final settlement amount reduction.
Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Rear-End Accident Avoidance Tips?
These are some tips our attorneys came up with for front drivers and rear drivers to avoid crashing on our freeways, interstates, backstreets, alleyways, and roads. Be aware of angry road ragers. Stay away.
- Front car: After you engage your turn signal, you must slowly transition into the slower lane. You must do your part to avoid potential accident injuries. Leave your ego in the dojo, don't confront anyone. You must increase traffic accident risks, either.
- Rear car: If you are behind a road rager who constantly speeds up and slows, simultaneously blocking you from advancing, this is a road rager. Try and get their plates when safe and have your attorney file a DMV, and perhaps calling 9-1-1 is your best option. Get off the road to a safe zone near people.
California Rear-End Accident Attorney
If you are seeking legal representation from a stellar, compassionate rear-end accident attorney, your search has ended. Did you suffer injuries in a tailgating accident in Los Angeles? By enlisting a motor vehicle collision attorney at Ehlen Law Firm, your legal rights to total and fair compensation will be asserted by our attentive staff. Since you already know we only represent accident victims, you'll have confidence in our repetitive skillset, including winning.
- Our excellent legal team has won clients over $100 Million in well-deserved landmark court victories and settlements.
- Our proven track of helping rear-end collision victims obtain maximum compensation has demonstrated our skills and resources time and time again.
- Our past clients know we will pursue successful injury claims till the final victory.
- Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are well-studied experts in California traffic laws.
- We won't let you blow the statute of limitations or government claims filing deadlines.
As you saw above, we are fully aware of the games insurers play and fully understand how comparative negligence rules can help or hurt car accident claims.
How Can I Hire A Rear-End Accident Attorney Today?
Although rear-end collisions are common, getting struck in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. We offer each client compassion and knowledge and always put their best interests first. Suppose another driver injured you during a rear-end collision that was not your fault. In that case, you might be able to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and other monetary losses. Don’t hesitate to call our office today for a free consultation or complete our website's contact form.