Question from Frank, How Is Fault Determined in a Rear-End Collision with a Double-Parked Car in California?
Answer from AI:
When you’re involved in a rear-end collision with a double-parked car in California, determining fault can be complex. California follows a comparative negligence system, which means that fault can be shared between parties based on their contribution to the accident.
Understanding Comparative Negligence
Under comparative negligence, even if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages. However, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault and the other party 70%, you can recover 70% of your damages from the other party.
Factors Affecting Fault Assignment
Several factors will be considered when determining fault in such a situation:
- Illegal Parking: If a car is double-parked, it is violating California Vehicle Code 22500(f), which prohibits stopping or parking on the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street. This could be considered negligence on the part of the double-parked driver.
- Driver’s Duty of Care: As a driver, you have a duty to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and to be aware of your surroundings. If you fail to do so, you may be found negligent for not avoiding the double-parked car.
- Visibility and Warning: Whether the double-parked car had hazard lights on or any other warning signs can affect fault determination. If the car was not visible or did not provide adequate warning, the double-parked driver may bear more fault.
Steps to Take After the Accident
If you find yourself in this situation, consider the following steps:
- Ensure everyone’s safety and call for medical help if necessary.
- Report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Exchange information with the other driver, including contact and insurance details.
- Take photos of the accident scene, including the double-parked car and any relevant road signs or markings.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
- Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of fault and potential recovery.
Consulting a Legal Professional
Because determining fault can be complicated and the outcome can significantly affect your ability to recover damages, it is advisable to seek personalized legal advice. An attorney can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and represent your interests in dealings with insurance companies or in court if necessary.
For more information on California’s vehicle codes and regulations, you can visit the California Legislative Information website.
Remember, this information is a general guideline, and the specifics of your case may lead to a different outcome. Legal advice tailored to your situation is essential for the best possible result.