Seek help from a personal injury lawyer
who specializes in car accident cases
In years past, Florida courts consistently took a very straightforward approach to deciding liability in rear-end collisions. The driver who struck the rear-end of another vehicle was always at fault. However, laws are changing nationwide as courts begin to recognize cases in which a driver's negligence may cause another vehicle to collide with the rear of his or her vehicle. Nevertheless, the rear driver is still considered to be at fault in the majority of all rear-end car accidents.
Rear-end accident injuries
Like other types of car accident, rear-end collisions may cause injury. Depending on the surrounding circumstances of the accident, injuries may range from relatively minor to more extensive damage that requires long-term medical treatment. Examples of common injuries include:
- back injuries
- head injuries
- facial injuries
- arm and hand injuries
- seatbelt injuries
Whiplash and back injury
Rear-end collisions may cause the head to abruptly move forward, then whip backward quickly. The sudden movement in opposite directions may result in an injury known as whiplash. Early symptoms include soreness and stiffness in the neck. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately 20 percent of all people who are involved in a rear-end collision experience whiplash; 50 percent have pain that lingers for more than a year after the incident. Back injuries are also common in rear-end collisions. The impact of the accident can cause the spine to compress, which may result in spinal disc herniation, facet joint damage, or even spinal cord and/or nerve injuries. Injuries to the discs, spinal cord, and nerves can cause pain to radiate to other parts of the body. Individuals who are involved in a rear-end accident should seek medial attention immediately following the accident, even if no sign of injury is present at the time. Sometimes symptoms may emerge slowly, and continuing to move about unaware of the unknown injury may make matters worse. Moreover, a car accident may cause very serious internal injuries that require immediate medical examination.
In two-car rear-end collisions, the rear vehicle is almost always presumed to be at fault. Most often, a driver may collide with the vehicle in front as a result of following too closely, simply not paying attention, or speeding. Even in cases in which the front vehicle suddenly comes to an abrupt stop, courts will often assume a reasonable driver would have been able to avoid the collision under similar circumstances. However, in multi-car pileups, the rear car may be pushed into the car in front if impacted from behind by a third vehicle.
Florida courts apply the comparative negligence rule to car accident cases. Therefore, the amount a plaintiff is awarded may be reduced by a percentage corresponding with his or her degree of fault in the accident. For example, a rear driver may be required to pay damages for a plaintiff's injuries if he or she was speeding and rear-ended the plaintiff's car. However, if the court finds the plaintiff was 10 percent at fault for attempting to change lanes without signaling, the plaintiff's award amount would be reduced by 10 percent.
Florida as a no-fault state
Florida residents are required to carry no-fault coverage as part of their mandatory auto insurance. No-fault insurance compensates the insured in accidents that cause less than $10,000 in damage, regardless of fault. The insured simply files a claim with his or her own insurance company and is not required to prove the absence of his or her own negligence. While no-fault policies may seem like an easy way to ensure those who are involved in accidents are compensated for the resulting damage fairly quickly and with little hassle, the policies are not designed to cover all expenses. Insured drivers are eligible to receive compensation for 80 percent of their medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages from their insurance company. After receiving an insurance payout, the insured may not file a claim to receive the remaining 20 percent of medical bills and 40 percent of lost wages. Therefore, accident victims should contact a car accident attorney prior to filing a claim.
Reach out to a car accident lawyer
Due to the complexity of Florida's car accident laws, individuals who are involved in a rear-end collision should contact a qualified Plantation auto accident lawyer near you. At The Ellsley Law Firm, initial consultation is always free, and we will not collect payment unless we're able to successfully win compensation on your behalf.