Rear-End Collisions and Comparative Negligence

Since the 1960s, Florida law has presumed that if a driver rear-ends another vehicle, that driver is the one at fault. Prior to 2012, trial courts did not allow these drivers to present evidence of the front driver’s fault. However, the Florida Supreme Court recently decided that rear drivers could rebut the presumption of their negligence. Juries are now permitted to evaluate whether drivers who were rear-ended contributed to their injuries.

Florida comparative negligence

In Florida, your negligence — your failure to be careful under the circumstances — can diminish proportionately the amount of damages you can collect for your injuries. For example, if you back-end someone because they cut in front of you and failed to maintain sufficient speed, that driver may have collect reduced damages. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault system, even a party 90 percent at fault in a crash may be able to recover 10 percent of the losses. In this case, the other party who was 10 percent at fault may claim 90 percent of the losses.

Damages in a rear-end collision

If you are the victim of another person’s negligence in a rear-end collision, you may be able to obtain the following compensation:

  • Expenses for replacing or repairing your vehicle
  • Medical expenses for present and future treatment
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Punitive damages from defendants who acted in a reckless manner

To successfully obtain adequate compensation, it helps to retain a Florida attorney with extensive experience representing injured drivers in court and in insurance claims negotiations.

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