Considering the alarming regularity with which auto accidents occur in Florida, it is not surprising that the factual scenarios leading up to them are virtually innumerable. However, rear-end accidents, ranging from simple fender benders to substantial impact events, are among the most commonly seen accident types on the roadways.
While many have an intuitive belief that the motorist who collides with the forward driver’s vehicle is always to blame for such incidents, there are circumstances in which this is not the case. Whenever a crash of this type happens, it is important for injury victims to align themselves with a Clearwater rear-end accident lawyer who can craft effective legal arguments and facilitate receipt of fair compensation.
Rear-End Collisions in Florida
Under prevailing Florida law, rear-end auto accidents bring with them a rebuttable presumption that the driver at the rear of the impact bears responsibility for the collision. The rationale for this is that drivers are always required to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of them, and the fact of the crash itself is considered evidence that this rule of the road was not obeyed.
As a result, a driver who is rear-ended in Florida will not need to establish negligence on the part of the other driver, it will be imputed by virtue of the accident having happened.
However, that is not to say that situations do not exist in which the driver of the front vehicle can also be deemed at least partially responsible for an impact event. Some potential scenarios in which a motorist who is rear-ended may also be to blame for a collision include:
- When he or she reverses the vehicle in a sudden manner
- When he or she makes an abrupt stop in order to turn, but fails to complete the action
- When his or her vehicle malfunctions in some way, but no effort is made to pull over or engage hazard lights
- When he or she operates a vehicle without operational brake lights
In circumstances such as these, it is important a rear end accident lawyer in Clearwater is contacted, as it is likely that the rear-ended vehicle’s driver will also be assigned a portion of the overall responsibility for the accident.
Comparative Fault Considerations
In Florida actions premised on negligence, a doctrine of comparative fault is at play, pursuant to Fla. Stat. Ann. § 768.81. This means that in car accidents, even those involving rear-end impacts, it is possible for a part of the total blame to be attributed to more than one party.
When this happens, the amount of responsibility assigned to a damaged party will proportionately reduce his or her ability to recover compensation. It should be noted, however, that contrary to many other jurisdictions across the country, there is no percentage threshold of blame that will serve to bar recovery altogether.
Essential Insights for Those Involved
If you have suffered injuries or other losses in a rear-end accident in the Clearwater area, you many be entitled to receive significant financial compensation.
To learn how a Clearwater rear-end accident lawyer can assess the facts and provide you with essential legal insights, contact an attorney with our firm today.