You can go online and search to find out who is at fault in a rear-end collision. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find that the rear driver is almost always at fault. However, our car accident lawyers in Palm Springs know for a fact that this isn’t always the case.
Even if you were the rear driver in a rear-end accident, there’s a chance you’ll be entitled to damages.
The Rear Driver Is Usually at Fault for a Rear-End Collision
When it comes to personal injury law, there are certain rules that attorneys follow. For example, in a drunk driving accident, it’s almost always the drunk driver who is at fault.
The same thing is true with rear-end car accidents. Unless there are unique circumstances, the rear driver is almost always to blame.
The thing about these general rules is that there are always exceptions.
Your Car Accident Lawyer in Palm Springs Will Be Fighting an Uphill Battle
Even though it’s theoretically possible that you may have a claim for damages, it will be an uphill battle. Your car accident lawyer in Palm Springs will have to demonstrate that the other driver did something unusual to prove your claim.
At the same time, your Palm Springs accident attorney will treat your case like any other. They will review the evidence and look to see if there is anything to prove the defendant was at fault.
This Doesn’t Mean It’s Impossible for the Rear Driver to Collect Damages
Your Palm Springs accident attorney will have to put together a strong case to prove you deserve damages. They’ll need to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent.
There are numerous situations in which this can happen. Some of them include the following:
- The defendant’s brake lights were not working so you had no idea they were about to stop.
- The other driver slammed on their brakes in the middle of a busy intersection.
- The front driver accidentally put their car in reverse instead of in drive.
- The defendant was attempting to merge into your lane and put their vehicle in jeopardy of being hit.
There are countless ways in which this can happen. Your car accident lawyer in Palm Springs will need to provide concrete evidence that the defendant in your case was primarily at fault.
The Defendant Will Argue That You Had the Last Opportunity to Prevent the Crash
The other driver is going to argue that, regardless of what role they played, you had the last chance to avoid a rear-end collision. They will argue that, even if their brake lights weren’t working, any other driver would’ve noticed they had stopped.
Your Palm Springs accident attorney will anticipate this kind of argument. It’s quite common for this to happen. The defendant’s lawyer isn’t going to admit that they were responsible for the crash. They figure they have precedent on their side.
California Follows the Pure Comparative Negligence Rule
Even if the defendant is able to show that you were partly at fault, that doesn’t mean your claim will be dismissed. You can still collect damages even if you were partially responsible for your accident.
Every state has its own rules when it comes to comparative fault. Some states don’t allow you to collect damages if you’re even 1% at fault. Other states let you demand damages as long as you’re less than 50% at fault.
California follows the pure comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, a plaintiff can collect damages regardless of their percentage of fault.
Your Palm Springs Accident Attorney Will Argue That the Defendant Was Primarily at Fault
To give you the best possible chance of collecting damages, your Palm Springs accident attorney will try to show the defendant was primarily at fault. In other words, they’ll try to demonstrate that the defendant was more than 50% at fault.
While the pure comparative negligence rule technically allows you to collect damages even if you were 99% at fault, that doesn’t make much sense. If you were more than 50% at fault, the defendant would sue you.
Therefore, the goal is to show that the other driver was more at fault than you.
Your Damages May Be Reduced by Your Percentage of Fault
Even though California allows you to collect damages even if you’re partly at fault, your damages will be impacted. The way this rule works is that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Imagine that you’re in a car crash and sue the other driver for $250,000. The court finds that you were 20% at fault. Your damages will be reduced by $50,000, or 20%.
There Is a Good Chance Your Palm Springs Accident Attorney Will Settle Your Case
We’ve discussed what can happen if the court finds you to be partially at fault for your injuries. However, it usually won’t get to this point. In more than 95% of all car accident lawsuits, the case is settled long before trial.
What this means is that your attorney may not have argued about who was mostly at fault. In an effort to resolve the matter, your car accident lawyer in Palm Springs will negotiate a settlement with the insurance carrier.
It is usually best for everyone involved to settle a case rather than face the risk of losing at trial.
Reach Out to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Palm Springs
Normally, if you’re the rear driver in a rear-end car accident, you won’t be able to pursue damages. It won’t matter how serious your injuries are. The best your Palm Springs accident attorney can do is file a claim under your own PIP policy.
There are times, however, when you can file a claim, even if you were the rear driver. Our car accident lawyers in Palm Springs can evaluate your case and see if you have a leg to stand on.
We recommend that you contact our office as soon as possible after the accident. This way, you can schedule your free, initial consultation. Sit down with a seasoned Palm Springs accident attorney who can give you an honest appraisal of your case.