Mar 25, 2024

Are Rear-End Drivers Always Presumed Liable Or At-Fault For The Accident?

Imagine sitting in traffic at SW 117th Avenue and Kendall Drive in Miami, and suddenly, someone slams into your car from behind. You’ve just been rear-ended, and your head spins through the roof. Also, your arm hurts after banging on the steering wheel. Who will pay for your medical expenses? Are rear-end victims able to go after the at-fault drivers, and are those drivers always considered at-fault in rear-end collisions? 

Fault often lies with the last driver in these crashes, but there are circumstances where another party could also be held liable. Even if it seems clear the rear driver caused the rear-end collision, it’s typical for the liable driver’s insurance company to contest the claim. Our experienced personal injury lawyer at Nunez Law can help to ensure the liable party is held accountable. If you have questions about a recent rear end crash, contact our rear end collision attorneys at (305) 444-4407

Rear-End Accident Laws In Florida 

Rear-end accidents are far too common in Miami and across the country. Rear-end collisions are estimated to be about 30% of all auto accidents nationwide. 

Generally, Florida courts recognize that the rear driver is the liable party in a rear-end wreck under something called “presumption”. This is because all Florida drivers have a duty of care to maintain a safe following distance and to watch for vehicles ahead, including the flow of traffic, objects in the road, etc. If someone hits you in a rear-end collision, odds are they were following too closely, or were not paying attention and failed to apply the brakes in time. 

However, there are rear-end crashes where fault may not always lie with the trailing driver. Florida’s comparative negligence laws could be relevant to your case if the front driver is found partially at-fault. The law states that if you were partially at-fault for an accident, your compensation may be reduced according to your percentage of blame. 

For example, if you’re hit on the road by a rear-driver but you stopped for no reason, you could be found partially at-fault for the crash. This could lead to less compensation for your injuries and other damages. And, if you are found to be more than 50% at-fault, Florida law does not allow you to seek an injury claim under a theory of negligence.

Steps To Take After A Rear-End Accident

Always call the police by dialing 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance if there are significant injuries. Take photos of vehicle positions, accident damage, and the general crash scene if possible. This evidence may be critical to determining fault in the rear-end collision.

Determining Fault In Rear-End Accidents

Like most auto accidents, rear-end crashes are usually caused by someone’s negligence. However, to prove your case—even if it seems obvious the other driver was negligent—you must show that they failed in their duty (obligation) to drive safely and that failure caused the accident. 

There are several factors your rear-end crash attorney will look for when examining your case: 

  • Was the other driver tailgating you? Every driver in Florida has a responsibility to maintain a safe following distance. This ensures enough space for braking or evasive action if an emergency requires the lead driver to stop. 
  • Was the other driver speeding? Speeding is one of the top causes of Florida accidents. If the other driver was speeding when the rear-end car accident occurred, this will help prove your case (especially if black box data is available). 
  • Was the at-fault driver distracted? Using a digital device, eating, drinking, applying make-up, or grooming while driving can distract the driver, leading to many rear-end car accidents. 

If the accident investigation shows any of these factors were relevant to your accident, the back driver could be found negligent, and more. While Florida courts may presume the trailing driver is at-fault, that does not account for every rear-end collision. There are circumstances where the lead driver could be found partially at fault. It is a myth that the rear driver is always liable in these accidents. 

For example, if the front driver’s brake lights are inoperable, they could be found liable for the crash. Or, perhaps the lead driver slammed on their brakes for no reason and caused the accident. Another possibility is the front driver was intoxicated and stopped at a green light or when they had right of way, causing the accident. Yet another situation is the lead driver cut you off or changed into your lane without leaving you ample opportunity to apply brakes in heavy traffic. Your attorney will carefully review the issue of fault when a rear-end collision occurs. Then, they will explain your legal options. 

Why You Want Nunez Law Representing You After A Rear-End Collision 

Many people believe a car accident case will be easy if someone rear-ends them and causes an accident. It’s true that the trailing driver is usually found liable for the rear-end accident, but not always. There are times when the front driver could be found partially negligent. Your Nunez Law personal injury attorney will determine who caused the accident and argue passionately in your favor to lay the accident responsibility on the appropriate party. 

You also can expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to contest the claim or try to pay less than what you deserve for your injuries. Florida has a no-fault law since the 1970s, so your auto insurance should cover your initial medical bills and lost wages (up to the policy limits, which are almost always $10,000 in Florida). But your insurance won’t cover pain and suffering, future medical care, and your property damages are separate. Your auto accident attorney might help you get additional compensation for serious injuries and ensure the liable party covers your car damages. 

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer In Miami Today 

You can always rely on the experienced car accident attorneys at Nunez Law to fight for the most compensation for your losses after a rear end accident. Contact Nunez Law today for a rear-end accident legal consultation at 305-444-4407. Lead Attorney Bobby Nunez is an accomplished personal injury lawyer recently named to the National Trial Association’s coveted Top 40 Under 40 list. You can rest assured that he will fight for maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.  Remember that at AccidentLawFirm.com, Our 5 Star Reviews Are No Accident.