The Presumption of Liability in Florida Rear-End Car Accidents
Determining liability in many car accident cases can be difficult, especially when multiple vehicles are involved or the injuries were particularly severe. In certain types of collisions, however, the negligence of a certain driver is actually automatically presumed by courts and insurers. When it comes to rear-end car accidents, for instance, the rear driver is generally presumed to have caused the crash. While overcoming this presumption is possible, doing so can be difficult, especially for those without legal representation, so if you were recently involved in a rear-end collision, you should reach out to an experienced Altamonte Springs car accident lawyer who can help you determine who was responsible for your crash.
In Florida, there is a presumption that the rear driver in a rear-end collision is responsible for the crash. The reasoning behind this is based on the argument that a driver who is operating his or her vehicle in a reasonable manner would have enough time to avoid a collision, even if the driver in front of that person behaved negligently. Although this presumption is automatic, it is also rebuttable, which means that it can be overcome and the other driver can be held partially liable for an accident, but only if the rear driver can provide evidence of the other motorist’s negligence. In the event that this presumption is rebutted, any issues of negligence and fault will be submitted to a jury.
Rebutting Claims of Liability
There are four main categories of explanation that are most commonly used to rebut the presumption of a rear driver’s negligence, including that:
- The other driver made an abrupt and arbitrary stop in a place where such a stop could not reasonably be expected,
- The other driver made an unexpected lane change;
- A mechanical failure caused the rear driver to collide with the lead motorist; or
- The lead vehicle was illegally stopped.
Rear drivers who do not have this type of evidence and who fail to rebut the presumption of negligence will usually be held solely liable for the collision. Those who can provide evidence of negligence, on the other hand, could end up recovering a part of their own damages from the lead driver. This is because Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that juries can apportion liability for an accident between two or more parties. In a rear-end collision scenario, this means that both parties could be held liable for how much they contributed to the accident.
Were You Injured in a Rear-End Collision?
If you were involved in a rear-end car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses, even if you were the driver who collided with the other vehicle. For help investigating your own claim, or proving that another driver caused or contributed to your crash, please call one of our experienced Altamonte Springs car accident lawyers at Goldman Law, P.A. 407-960-1900, or send us an online message with a description of your case.