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Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen in Florida, and Who’s To Blame?

Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen in Florida, and Who’s To Blame?

If you have ever been involved in a rear-end collision in Florida, you could have suffered “minor” injuries like whiplash, which can sometimes leave you back to normal with proper care within weeks. Or, like many others, your injuries could have been much more serious, including temporary or permanent paralysis from spinal injuries. Either way, you may be entitled to reimbursement for any medical expenses and possibly other compensation for lost wages if you missed work.

Many refer to these as “fender-benders” because the driver of the vehicle behind the front car may be able to brake in time to avoid significant impact while still hitting the car in front. But many of these accidents can be far more serious, resulting in serious injury or even death. 

The Costs and Fault Associated with Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end accidents are quite common and can be much more than simple fender-benders, even causing death. The ultimate legal question is: who is responsible for those costs and losses associated with a rear-end collision? It is often assumed that the driver of the rear vehicle is at fault. 

The rear-vehicle driver is often blamed for several reasons, including the following:

  • Drivers are expected to maintain a safe distance behind vehicles in front of them (four seconds)
  • In today’s world of technology, a driver may be looking at a GPS or cell phone instead of paying attention to how close they are following the traffic in front of them
  • The weather can contribute, especially heavy rain or fog, and drivers should increase the distance between vehicles in front of them due to decreased visibility and the probability that braking may take longer on a wet surface.

An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine who is at fault for the rear-end collision. 

Exceptions of Fault That Cause The Presumption to Shift to the Driver of the Front Vehicle

The driver of the rear vehicle is often presumed to be at fault in a rear-end collision. This means that the driver of that vehicle must prove that the vehicle he or she hit from behind was doing something that caused or contributed to the accident.  

Several actions – or inactions – of the front vehicle driver can change the presumption, including:

  • The brake lights were not functioning at the time of the accident, so the rear vehicle had no warning that the vehicle was stopping
  • The driver was aware of a mechanical problem, flat tire, etc., and failed to pull over to attend to it
  • The driver slammed on the brakes without a valid reason, like starting to run through a late caution light, then deciding to stop at the red light

It is important to determine what contributed to the rear-end collision occurring as multiple parties may be at fault. 

No-Fault Laws and Comparative Negligence in Rear-end Accidents in Florida

Several states, including Florida, are “no-fault” states when dealing with car insurance companies.  This means your own insurer is responsible for your losses after a car accident, even if you are not at fault.  Florida Statute 627.7407 requires that you carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to cover these damages.

In addition, Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means that the front driver may be found to have some liability even if the rear driver was primarily at fault. For example, if the front vehicle’s brake lights were not working, but the rear vehicle was speeding and following too closely, the front vehicle may be 20 percent negligent while the rear driver is 80 percent negligent. The front driver should have had the brake lights fixed, but the second driver wouldn’t have been able to stop in time anyway.

A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You After a Rear-End Collision in Tampa, FL

Many unique factors make rear-end collisions in Florida complicated to resolve with an insurance company or in court.  It is important to work with a car accident attorney who has handled many rear-end collisions and is experienced in resolving these issues and ensuring that you recover as much as possible for your injuries and other damages. Don’t try to navigate this complicated area of the law alone.

Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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