According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 percent of all car accidents are rear-end collisions. This type of accident has the potential to cause serious injuries including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, dislocations, fractures, and more. If an accident victim sustains serious injuries, they can seek compensation from any negligent parties that caused the accident by filing a personal injury claim in Hillsborough County court. In such a case, it is critical for a victim to have the assistance of an experienced attorney who understands the law regarding rear-end accidents.
The Rear Driver Is Not Always At Fault
Historically, the driver in the rear was automatically considered to be at fault for hitting the car in front. Even if the driver in front suddenly slammed on their brakes, drivers are expected to drive at a safe enough distance that they would be able to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. For this reason, the rear driver was generally unable to recover for damages sustained in a rear-end collision.
However, the Florida Supreme Court recently changed the way that rear-end accident cases are handled in Florida in the cases of Cevallos v. Rideout and Birge v. Charron. The court decided that while the rear driver is presumed to be at fault, that driver can present evidence that the front driver also was negligent and caused or contributed to the collision. If such evidence exists, the rear driver may be able to recover for damages.
Negligence Of The Front Driver
There are different ways in which the front driver can be negligent and lead to a rear-end accident. Some examples of such negligent acts include the following:
- Drunk driving;
- Distracted driving;
- Having no working brake lights;
- Driving without lights in the dark or the rain;
- Trucks that have inadequate visibility markers; or
- Unsafe lane changes that cut off another driver.
Anyone who has been the victim of a rear-end collision–whether they are the front or rear driver–should discuss their legal options with an experienced car accident lawyer who understands rear-end collision laws in Florida. By doing so, they can recover for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other collision-related losses. There is only a limited amount of time to file a legal claim after an accident, however, so victims should not delay in scheduling a free consultation to discuss a possible legal claim.