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What is California State law regarding rear end collisions? Is it cut and dry or are extenuating circumstances considered?

North Hollywood, CA |

I was rear ended while turning left. The woman who hit me says I was turning from the wrong lane, but she hit me mid bumper, so the impact was from directly behind me. I don't see how this could have occurred with me turning from the wrong lane.

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Attorney answers 10


The law in California with regard to rear end automobile collisions is not "cut and dry." However, in your situation it appears to be a matter of clear liability. I'm assuming there's no evidence there you were making a left-hand turn from the wrong lane.

If you are injured I would recommend strongly that you seek medical attention and also legal counsel.

As well, most insurance policies require that an incident such as this be reported promptly.

I would caution against providing any statements to the other driver's insurance company until you've had an opportunity to consult counsel and discuss this matter with your insurance company.

You can use the AVVO search engine to find an attorney that does personal injury/automobile cases.

Wish you the best of luck

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.



Thank you Mr. Katz. I'm going to take your advice and look in to counsel options on this site. I appreciate it. Have a great day.

Richard Marc Katz

Richard Marc Katz


I am glad I was able to assist you. With Kind Regards Richard M Katz


Unfortunately, there are usually any number of arguments that someone can make about how you arguably contributed to the accident, even though you were rear ended. Any accident is a factually intensive situation, and the cause if often disputed by the parties, even when on the surface it seems simple and clear cut. Get medical treatment for any injuries you sustained and contact your insurance company. Also, use the Avvo Find a Lawyer tab to find an attorney in your area to consult with. Best of luck to you...

THESE COMMENTS MUST NOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. Comments made on websites such as are provided for information purposes only, and you should not base a decision to act or refrain from acting based upon this answer. The only way to determine how the law may apply to your particular situation is to consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. . That relationship is established by the execution of a written agreement for legal services. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.


The burden will always be on the driver rear-ending the other vehicle. I agree with other counsel who answered.

Every situation is different, and good legal advice cannot be given based on a short question without an exploration of all the facts that may bear on your situation. This is not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been established.


In evaluating these cases, It is not simply what the evidence shows - it is also what the credible parties and witnesses testify to. You were there, yet you don't mention what happened as best you recall. That will lead some people to suspect that you are trying to hide something. If you don't take an oath and rebut what the woman is saying, I think most common sense jurors will believe her and find some fault on your part. If on the other hand you testify and attest to the version of facts that you are promoting, and the jury believes you, I think you will be found without fault.



For me, it was as simple as I was making a left hand turn, with my signal on, and was hit from behind. The woman is the one who made the claim that I was turning from the wrong lane. It's a case of he said/she said, but I feel like the physical evidence is in my favor. Thanks for the advice!


Superb answers from my colleagues in California!!

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


I live and work in California, close to North Hollywood, and deal with accidents like yours, so I am happy to answer your question. The answer to your question is your gut instinct is right that you need a lawyer in order to get the best results because even rear end accidents are not cut and dry anymore. Moreover it sounds like the accident is completely the other persons fault; you are entitled to having your medical bills covered and other out of pocket expenses. Our firm does not usually settle cases until the client is 100%. We look at the case as a whole and attempt to figure out what the settlement should be. The insurance company will make you believe that your case is worth very little... Regarding pain and suffering, you need to speak to an experienced attorney that can strategize your case. Just because you were in an accident doesn't mean you have pain and suffering, at least thats what the insurance companies think. Make no doubt about it you have a great case, but you need help from a professional. You are entitled to your medical bills being covered as well.

Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hired can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case. There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney.

With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled cases and/or spoken to clients in the North Hollywood, CA area.

Its very possible that your case is worth more than the $$$ that the insurance company will offer you by yourself. Make your life easier and call an attorney today, you won't regret it. We give free consultations!

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


Go to the scene of the accident and take pictures of the lanes. Make a detailed graph of where your car was prior to turning and then showed where the accident occurred. Someone is exercising faulty memory. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by California Auto Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Manuel Juarez. Esq., is licensed only in California. He practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, Manuel A. Juarez es licenciado solo en California.


If you were injured, retain a personal injury lawyer. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to find a local lawyer. Get one with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so you don't get hurt twice.


If you turned from the wrong lane than you will be considered to have made an unsafe turning movement. there may be some comparative on the other driver.


many times there are extenuating circumstances - other driver argues lane change; or sudden stop; or even that the front car backed into the car behind. If injured consult a local personal injury attorney Good luck

This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.

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