- What is a Rear-End Collision?
- No-Fault Insurance in Florida
- Contributory Negligence in Florida
- Chain Reaction Rear End Collisions in Florida
- Determining Fault in a Rear-end Collision in Florida
- Common Injuries From a Florida Rear-End Accident
- How to Avoid Rear-End Collisions
- Why Should I Speak to a Lawyer About my Rear-End Car Accident Case in Florida?
- The Law Place
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, around a third of all road accidents are rear-end collisions.
In a rear-end collision, the driver who runs into the back of another vehicle is generally presumed to be at fault. For this reason, you might think that you do not need an attorney. You might be right; after all, Florida is a no-fault state. As a result, following an accident, you should turn to your own insurance company regardless of fault.
However, if anyone was seriously injured or property was severely damaged, then you will still want to speak to an attorney. Damages quickly add up and often exceed the limits of insurance policies. An attorney will help you to secure a satisfactory settlement so that you are not left out of pocket.
At The Law Place, we analyze your case as a team so that you can benefit from our combined experience, which spans over 75 years. We understand that you might still be unsure as to whether you need a personal injury lawyer in Florida, that’s why we offer a free consultation. Contact us today on 941-444-4444.
What is a Rear-End Collision?
A rear-end collision is a type of road traffic accident that occurs when a driver of a vehicle collides into the vehicle in front of them. Rear-end collisions are usually caused by tailgating, distracted driving, and poor weather conditions.
No-Fault Insurance in Florida
Florida Statute 627.7407 states that every driver should look to their own insurance companies to cover medical bills after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
In accordance with Florida Statute 627.736, Florida requires every driver to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This blanket coverage from insurance companies is designed to protect drivers in minor car accidents.
In more severe accidents, this coverage may be insufficient, in which case you should speak to a personal injury lawyer. This is true of a rear end collision as well as any other type of car accident in Florida.
Contributory Negligence in Florida
In accordance with Florida Statute 768.81,Florida operates under contributory or comparative negligence when it comes to car accidents. Comparative negligence means that if a lawsuit does occur, your liability equals the percentage at which you are deemed to be at fault. For example, if your case is worth $24,000 and you are found to be 20 percent at-fault for the accident, then your settlement amount would be reduced by 20 percent, and you would receive $19,200.
As the front driver, you could be wondering how you could ever be found to be partially at-fault for a rear-end collision. When fighting for comparative negligence, the defense might consider whether your taillights and indicator lights were working, if you were driving too fast or too slow or if you did something unexpected like brake suddenly. That is why it is a good idea to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side who can fight on your behalf and maximize your settlement potential.
Chain Reaction Rear End Collisions in Florida
Occasionally, more than two vehicles might be involved in a rear end collision, almost always in heavy traffic situations or at intersections. In this scenario, a rear end collision causes a chain reaction, one car slams into the back of another, causing them, in turn, to crash into the car in front of them.
Generally, the car at the back who started the reaction will be found to be at-fault, and in the case of a serious accident, any other vehicles involved might seek to recover damages from the at-fault party. Multi-car accidents are more likely to move beyond the scopes of insurance firms because the damages from the accident are more likely to exceed policy limits.
Determining Fault in a Rear-end Collision in Florida
Most of the time, the driver at the back is liable for any damages that result from a rear end accident. This is because there are only a handful of causes for this type of accident. However, there are outliers to this rule. For example, in rare instances, the front car may have unexpectedly slammed on their breaks, causing the accident. Or, even more rarely, the middle vehicle could be at fault in a multi-car accident, for example, if they have pulled out between the other two vehicles.
Despite this, Florida law almost always presumes that the back driver is the negligent party in a rear end collision. If you were in an accident where the negligent party was not the back driver, then you should invest in a lawyer who can analyze your case.
Common Injuries From a Florida Rear-End Accident
The severity of rear-end collisions can vary widely, from minor injuries and damage to large medical bills and totaled vehicles.
For the at-fault driver, there is the added stress of traffic tickets and possibly steeper penalties if their insurance policy is insufficient to cover the costs of the damages. However, generally, the most affected are the victims who follow the rules of the road and are hit by a negligent driver, leaving them with painful injuries, a damaged car, emotional distress, lost wages, and medical bills. Some of these accidents even result in a loss of life.
Whiplash injuries – Whiplash happens when an accident victim is thrown forward by the force of a collision, resulting in pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
Back injuries – As the front driver, the force of a rear end accident can seriously impact your spine. Common back injuries include disc herniation, facet joint injury, and injury to the spinal cord and nerves. This can cause long-lasting or even permanent damage.
Head and face injuries – Despite mandatory airbags, head and face injuries are still common in rear end car accidents, such as a broken nose, a damaged eye socket, or even a traumatic brain injury. In fact, most rear end car accidents happen at low speeds, and as a result, the airbag often fails to deploy.
Arm and hand injuries – Because the front driver is usually holding onto their steering wheel when another car slams into them, injuries to the wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders are common. This can seriously affect someone’s day-to-day life and could even stop them from being able to drive for some time after the accident.
Seatbelt injuries – Seatbelts save countless lives, and in a rear-end collision, they might prevent a serious head injury. However, the impact of a rear end car accident may thrust you forward into your seatbelt, causing painful bruising and possible whiplash.
How to Avoid Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end accidents are common. Therefore, as a driver in Florida, it makes sense to take steps to avoid them. Here are some tips to help keep you safe.
- Leave plenty of space between you and the driver in front of you. The more space you have, the more time you and the other driver have to react.
- Distracted driving is a common cause of all road accidents. Therefore, you should avoid looking at your phone, eating, or adjusting a navigation device while you drive.
- Pay attention to the weather conditions and drive accordingly.
- Check your mirrors regularly so that you are aware of the cars behind you. If a driver doesn’t look like they are going to stop in time, you may need to use your car horn to alert them of your presence.
- Brake in plenty of time so that the driver behind you has enough time to react.
- Slow down leading up to traffic lights and prepare to stop if needed.
- Check that the safety features on your car are working properly, such as your indicators and brake lights. These features let the other driver know what your intentions are so that they can adjust accordingly.
- Be aware of your surroundings, even when you are stopped in traffic.
Why Should I Speak to a Lawyer About my Rear-End Car Accident Case in Florida?
If you have been involved in a rear-end car accident case that resulted in serious damage or injury in Florida, then you should speak to a car accident lawyer. The goal of insurance companies is to pay out as little as possible; therefore, even your own insurance company may be looking to minimize your damages.
That is why you need a lawyer who is experienced in Florida law to help you to navigate insurance companies and the legal process to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. They will assist you in tracking your expenses, including medical treatment, lost wages, and property damage, and will help you to calculate any future costs as a result of the accident.
The Law Place
Personal injury lawyers at The Law Place we have a wealth of experience on car accident claims in Florida. Having a lawyer on your side will enable you to focus on your recovery and will help to make sure that you are properly compensated.
If you have been in a rear end collision that has resulted in injury or damage, then contact us today for a free consultation so that we can answer any questions you have and help you to make an informed decision.
Contact us now on 941-444-4444.