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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 116701
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years of law and traffic law
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Accident happened at about 100 yard before exit 30 on ghway

Customer Question

Accident happened at about 100 yard before exit 30 on Highway 880 North (City: San Leandro).
Driving 2005 Toyota Corolla LE, with two passengers north of 880, slow down (at speed about 50 miles/hour) and prepare to exit on 31A.
There is a SUV in front of Corolla and partially blocked the front view of Corolla, the distance between two cars is about 10 cars.
The SUV sudden change lane to the left, exposed a stopped truck on the road in front of Toyota Corolla.
No warning sign or emergency light form the truck.
Hit Corolla brake but were not able to stop Corolla completely, Corolla engine hood went under the truck bumper. Caused the damage to the Corolla.
Gentle impact force received from Corolla, Air bags did not pop, wind shield glass was not
broken.
Driver and passengers in Corolla were not injured.
Truck #1 collide with another truck in the front. Both truck drivers were checking the damage on the road when Corolla collide with truck #1.
Highway patrol officers showed up and guided all three vehicles with passengers drove off
highway 880 exit 30 to Ronda Street to take the accident report.
Insurance company handled the claim and issued a generous check. However, they assigned us at least 51% of the legal cause of the accident, as "Our vehicle came in contact with other vehicles."
We'd like to contest this decision to avoid surcharge to be added to our premium. We believe our fault is under 49% as the truck failed to put up sign nor signal.
What's your recommendations?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Unfortunately, under CA law, the driver of the vehicle is to remain in control and a safe STOPPING distance from the vehicle in front of them. So the reason the insurance company held you more than 50% at fault is you collided with the rear of the vehicle in front of you meaning you were not a "safe stopping distance" from the vehicle in front of you. Now, there was a mitigation involved, the SUV not using its turn signal, but I am afraid that would not give them more than 50% of the fault and while you can argue it should, the insurance company will keep going back to the "safe stopping distance" requirement and if you were going at a speed too fast to come to a stop before hitting a vehicle in front of you, there was not a safe stopping distance or your speed could have been too fast for the road conditions, which would still make you at fault I am afraid.