People who are occupying cars that are struck from behind in San Jose may suffer debilitating injuries that require months of treatment and rehabilitation. These crashes occur when a car is struck by a vehicle that is behind it. There are several factors that may lead to rear-end crashes. In most cases, these accidents are preventable and result from driver negligence. If you have been injured in a rear-end collision in San Jose, an experienced personal injury lawyer may help you to recover compensation for the losses that you have suffered as a result of your accident.
What to do if you are involved in a rear-end accident in San Jose
Proving the extent of your injuries and the liability of the driver can be complex, necessitating the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer in San Jose. An attorney may negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company and work to secure an appropriate settlement. He or she may also litigate your case through trial if a settlement is not reached. Contact us today at (408) 217-1778 to schedule your free consultation so that you can learn more about your rights.
San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys also specialize in Rear-End Car Accidents in the Bay Area.
Causes of rear-end accidents
Rear-end accidents may be caused by many different factors. Some of the most common causes include the following:
- Failing to notice that traffic has slowed or stopped in front of the tailing vehicles
- Following too closely
- Driver distraction
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Negligence when approaching intersections with traffic control devices
- Sudden Stops
- Worn tire tread
- Traction problems caused by wet pavement
In a majority of rear-end accidents, the tailing driver will be at fault. In some cases, however, the driver of the front car will share blame for the accident or will be at fault. For example, if the front car has non-working brake lights, the driver may share fault for the accident. Drivers who continue driving without activating their hazard lights after they have had flat tires might also be at fault when they are struck from behind. Drivers who stop suddenly in order to turn but fail to complete the turn may also share liability.
Potential injuries in rear-end accidents
When a rear-end collision happens, the relative speeds of both vehicles, the force of the collision and its direction will all influence the types and severity of the resulting injuries. People may suffer any of the following injuries:
- Damage to the ankles and knees caused by bracing for impact
- Rib fractures from the seatbelt
- Facial injuries from the airbag
- Soft tissue injuries
- Whiplash injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cervical spine injuries
The different sizes of the tail and front vehicles, the different speeds when the collision happened and the locations of the head restraints may all impact the injuries that are sustained.
Damages in rear-end accidents
The available damages in a rear-end accident case may depend on the circumstances of the case, the extent and severity of the injuries and the losses that result. Some of the types of damages may include the following:
- Property losses
- Medical costs, including the expected future medical expenses
- Income losses
- Reductions in the ability to earn a living in the future
- Disfigurement damages
- Pain and suffering
- Repair costs for damaged property
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life damages
Damages fall into two primary categories in California. Special damages are all of the economic losses that negligence victims sustain. General damages are more intangible, noneconomic losses resulting from accidents. In addition to these two categories, punitive damages are also available, but they are rarely awarded in rear-end collisions unless the conduct of the at-fault driver was especially egregious.
California follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under this rule, courts and juries allocate fault among the parties when they share fault. If the front-car driver is allocated 20 percent of the fault for suddenly stopping, his or her award will be reduced by a proportional amount. For example, if he or she was awarded $1 million, the net award would be $800,000 because of the allocation of fault.