Who’s at Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Florida?
Data from Florida Health Charts shows that nearly 4,000 Floridians (and more than 350 in Miami-Dade County) died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021, and thousands more suffered severe injuries. In fact, Florida has one of the highest rates of vehicle accident fatalities in the country.
One of the most common types of auto accidents is rear-end collisions. Whether from distracted driving or poor road conditions, rear-end collisions account for nearly 30% of all auto accidents.
It’s common not to know who’s at fault in a rear-end collision in Florida. Here we discuss fault in Florida rear-end collisions and what to do if you’re in this type of car accident.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end car accidents are common for several reasons. They are often because of the negligence of the rear driver, the front driver, or a third party, such as a vehicle manufacturer or local officials responsible for maintaining safe road conditions.
The most common causes of rear-end accidents include:
- A front driver coming to a sudden stop, not using their hazard lights during an emergency, or having faulty brake lights.
- A rear driver following the line of traffic too closely or not noticing the car in front of them braking due to traffic congestion.
- Distracted driving, such as doing the following while driving:
- Eating or drinking
- Talking with other passengers
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Poor weather or road conditions
- Reckless driving, such as:
- Disobeying traffic signals
- Driving aggressively
Drivers need to exercise caution when operating a motor vehicle in order to maintain safe distances, stay attentive to the road, and be ready for any quick maneuvering in traffic.
Who’s at Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Florida?
In Florida, all motorists have what’s called a “duty of care” to follow traffic laws, regulations, lights, and signals to ensure they don’t endanger other drivers on the road. If a driver breaks their duty of care, the state can find them at fault for a Florida car accident.
When getting rear-ended in Florida, the courts usually assume the at-fault driver is the rear driver. This means that the rear driver has the burden of proof in the accident. If the rear driver can prove their innocence, they may no longer be at fault for the collision or share responsibility with other involved parties.
Florida Is a No-Fault State
Florida is one of 18 no-fault states in the country. No-fault laws mean drivers involved in accidents must seek compensation from their insurance company through personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to recover losses after an accident.
This is contrary to “at-fault” states. Under at-fault laws, you must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
In no-fault states, you don’t need to show which driver was at-fault in the accident to file an insurance claim because you’ll likely file the claim with your own insurance provider.
Florida law requires all drivers to have a PIP insurance policy worth at least $10,000 to drive legally. Depending on the severity of the crash, this may not be enough to cover all the expenses of a rear-end collision. However, if you were an at-fault rear-end driver in a car crash, this would be your only recourse for getting compensation.
Now, there is an exception to Florida’s no-fault laws. Under negligence law, you could seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance if you suffered severe bodily injuries.
Negligence in Rear-End Collisions
If you want to receive compensation for a rear-end collision, you need to prove the four elements of the driver’s negligence. These elements are:
- Duty of Care: the legal obligation of drivers to protect others from harm.
- Breach of Duty: the person broke their duty of care.
- Causation of Damages: the breach caused the accident in which you suffered harm.
- Damages: you suffered losses from your injuries.
To prove these elements, you must collect evidence, such as the police report from the crash and related medical records.
Florida’s comparative negligence laws apply to all motor vehicle accidents. This means that the court will determine the level of fault of each party involved in the crash and award compensation correspondingly.
For example, the court may find that you didn’t use your turn signal as the front driver and assign you 20% of the fault. This would mean you would receive 80% of the total compensation.
What Compensation Is Available After a Rear-End Collision?
When involved in a crash, you should always seek compensation from the relevant insurance company. Below you can see what types of compensation are possible.
Hiring a skilled car accident lawyer is best to help you receive the maximum rear-end collision settlement possible. A fight with a large company is challenging on your own – an experienced lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.
The car accident attorneys at Burnett Law, P.A. offer a free case evaluation and testimonials from previous clients, so there’s no cost to see which lawyer is best for your case.
A rear-end crash can result in many different medical conditions, like:
- Anxiety, depression, or PTSD
- Broken or fractured bones
- Bruises and cuts
- Head, neck, and spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
When seeking compensation, you can recover medical expenses for hospital stays, medical care, and other related costs.
If the accident caused you to be out of work, you could file a claim for lost wages. This includes potential future earnings.
Rear-end collision damage is typical for both lead and rear drivers. You can receive compensation for property damage, even if you were the at-fault driver.
Pain & Suffering
Pain and suffering are the physical discomfort and emotional distress you may encounter after experiencing harm due to negligence or intentional wrongdoing. You can get compensation for this type of harm.
You can file a wrongful death case if a loved one dies due to a rear-end collision. The compensation will cover funeral costs and other related expenses.
Request a Free Consultation for Your Case
So who’s at fault in a rear-end collision in Florida? Typically, the rear driver. However, under Florida’s comparative negligence laws, both the front and rear drivers may share fault, or the state could also find a third-party shared fault.
Begin the attorney-client relationship with a personal injury lawyer and contact our Tampa office for a free consultation. Our team has ample experience fighting for compensation in all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, and is here for you!