Slid into car in front, which turned without using their signal...

by Angela
(Antioch, CA)

It was dark this morning and the roads were still wet, but it was not raining. I was doing the speed limit when the car in front of me (a couple of car lengths ahead) stopped short to turn, without using a turn signal. I slammed on the brakes, slid because of the wet road, and rear ended him. No one was hurt.

My car had a couple of cracks in the grill, and his rubber bumper needs to be replaced. We exchanged information, but he didn't have the name of his insurance company, or for some reason I don't think he has insurance. I do though. If he doesn't have insurance, am I still liable to fix his car? What about since he didn't use his turn signal? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Slid into car in front, which turned without using their signal...":

Angela (Antioch, CA):

California is a third-party liability state. This means persons who are injured or who sustain property damage in a car accident as a result of another person's negligence are liable for the injured person's damages. Damages can include reimbursement for property damage to cars, and personal injuries.

In your case, you slid into the back of the other driver's car. You were obviously following too closely. California law requires drivers to follow behind other drivers at a "reasonable and prudent" distance.

When it is raining, or the roads are slick, a driver following behind has a legal duty to compensate for the slick roads and the additional time it takes for the driver to stop their car. See California's "Following Too Closely" law, Section 21703.

Report the accident to your insurance company and let them handle it. The fact that the other driver may have been uninsured is irrelevant.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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