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5 Common Car Accident Scenarios That Trigger an Insurance Claim

Car accidents can be a traumatic and expensive experience. In a car accident, it’s important to understand what scenarios might trigger an insurance claim. From single-car accidents to head-on collisions, various car accident scenarios involve insurance claims in California.

Our San Diego car accident attorneys discuss five common car accident scenarios that trigger insurance claims and provide some examples.

How Car Accident Liability Is Calculated in California

In California, liability for car accidents is determined by a pure comparative-fault system. This means that each person is held financially responsible for damage or injuries in proportion to their degree of fault of the subject accident.

If both drivers are found to be equally responsible for the accident, each driver will be held financially responsible for their respective share of the damages.

#1 – Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common car accidents, accounting for about 29% of all crashes. In a rear-end collision, one vehicle collides with the back of another, causing property damage and potential injury to the occupants of both vehicles.

Typically, the second vehicle in line is deemed to be at fault, as it is assumed that the driver of the trailing vehicle had enough time to respond appropriately and stop before it rear-ended the vehicle in front of them.

California law requires drivers to maintain a safe following distance between themselves and the vehicle ahead. This includes leaving sufficient space to bring a car to a safe stop when the leading vehicle suddenly decelerates or stops. When a driver fails to do this, they may be found liable for the damages caused in the accident.

Examples of Rear-End Collisions Triggering Insurance Claims

In addition, a tailgating driver can also be found at fault if the leading driver swerves or brakes unexpectedly. However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, such as when the leading driver fails to use their turn signal when making a sudden turn or lane change.

Examples of rear-end collisions that would trigger an insurance claim include:

  • A Californian driver tailgating another vehicle and failing to stop in time when the vehicle ahead brakes suddenly.
  • A driver failing to leave enough distance between themselves and the leading vehicle, resulting in an accident.
  • An unexpected swerve or direction change without using the turn signal and being struck from behind by another vehicle.

Consult a qualified car accident attorney for more information about your case.

#2 – Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles collide while traveling in opposite directions. This type of accident is particularly dangerous because of the speed at which the vehicles are traveling, plus the impact in the front end of the most vulnerable part of both cars.

Head-on collisions are typically caused by one driver crossing the center line into oncoming traffic or making an improper turn into the opposing lane.

In California, head-on collisions accounted for nearly 26% of fatal accidents between 2008 and 2017. Head-on collisions are considered a form of negligence in California. It is often assumed that the driver who crossed over into oncoming traffic is at fault for the accident. The negligent driver can be held liable for any property damage or injuries that resulted from the collision.

The injured party has the right to pursue compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance company to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses resulting from the accident.

#3 – Single-Vehicle Accidents

Single-vehicle accidents involve only one car and may be caused by a wide range of factors. For example, if a car skids off the road due to slippery pavement or if the brakes fail due to a manufacturing defect, it could lead to a single-vehicle accident. These accidents may be caused by a driver losing control of their car due to reckless driving, road conditions, or defective equipment.

In California, insurance companies will generally cover the cost of property damage and bodily injury caused by single-vehicle accidents.

However, insurance claims for single-vehicle accidents are usually only made when there is an external reason or factor that caused the accident, such as defective equipment or hazardous road conditions. If the driver is found to be at fault for the accident, they may be held liable for any damages incurred.

Additionally, if the driver is found to be driving under the influence (DUI), their insurance company may deny their claim, as this is considered a violation of the terms of their policy. It is important to note that some insurance policies also limit how much coverage can be provided for single-vehicle accidents.

Therefore, it is important to read your policy documents carefully to understand your coverage limits.

#4 – Accidents in Parking Lots

Accidents in parking lots or garages can be quite common and often lead to an insurance claim. Parking lots are typically busy areas, with many vehicles moving in proximity. Sometimes, a driver may not be paying attention and back into another vehicle, causing a collision.

Similarly, two drivers could simultaneously try to park in the same spot, which could lead to a fender bender.

Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, if any damage is done, it is likely to lead to an insurance claim. Depending on the severity of the damage, the repair costs could be high. If the damages caused by the accident are greater than your deductible, you’ll likely need to file a claim with your auto insurance company.

It’s important to note that if the other driver is found to be at fault for the accident, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket. The other driver’s insurance company should cover the cost of any repairs due to the accident. However, you may be responsible for any damages incurred if the other driver is not insured or does not have enough coverage.

#5 – Accidents Caused by Failing to Signal a Turn

One of the most common causes of car accidents is failing to signal a turn which can trigger an insurance claim. California Vehicle Code (CVC) 22107 states, “No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.”

According to this law, drivers must signal for a minimum of 100 feet before turning.

Failing to signal a turn can lead to serious collisions, especially when other drivers are unaware that a turn is imminent.

For example, if a driver fails to signal a left turn at an intersection, another vehicle may be unable to stop in time and cause an accident. Other situations include a driver failing to signal when changing lanes or turning into a driveway.

It is important to note that if an accident occurs because of failing to signal, it may be difficult to prove fault due to the vague nature of the law. However, if an accident does occur due to failure to signal, it is possible to file an insurance claim, as this failure can be seen as negligence.

For the insurance company to accept liability for the accident, the evidence must show the other driver’s negligence. This can include witness testimony, photographs, and police reports.

Ensure Your Car Accident Liability Is Fairly Calculated With Help From HHJ Trial Attorneys

Representing yourself properly during a trial is crucial to a successful case. Ensure you’re treated fairly with the help of a qualified car accident attorney. Get in touch with us today!

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