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Florida Rear-End Accidents

Many people associate ear-end traffic accidents with parking lot fender benders but rear-end collisions cause around 3,000 deaths each year, making up more than seven percent of traffic fatalities. Over 100,000 rear-end accidents occur each year in Florida alone, usually to motorists who never saw the collision coming, leaving them vulnerable to the full force of the crash. But does this mean the driver in the rear is always responsible for the accident? Florida courts now consider this a “rebuttable presumption” by acknowledging that a front driver in a rear-end collision may contribute to the cause of the crash.

cars waiting at a stop light with the caption: "get justice for your rear-end accident"

How Florida Sees Fault in Rear-end Collisions

A rear-end collision in Florida can result in serious injuries as well as property damage to a vehicle. According to Florida Statute 316.0895:

“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway.”

Under this statute, the rear driver is commonly held accountable for rear-end accidents; however, the Florida Supreme Court’s recent rulings allow rear drivers involved in collisions to rebut the presumption of fault. Court cases recently acknowledged front-driver fault, including when the front driver stops suddenly, or when a mechanical failure such as brake failure in the rear vehicle causes an accident.

What Types of Injuries Occur in Rear-end Collisions?

During a rear-end collision, the powerful crash force thrusts the individuals in the front vehicle forward, Then their seatbelts snap them back against the seat, putting tremendous strain on the spine and skull. Because the collision occurs from behind, motorists in the front vehicle don’t see it coming and don’t have a chance to brace themselves.

The severity of injuries in rear-end collisions increases with the speed of the rear vehicle in the collision, but even relatively minor rear-end accidents in Florida can cause significant or serious injuries, including injuries to the neck and back. Injuries from this type of collision sometimes have delayed onset of symptoms, causing disputes with the insurance companies. Injuries in rear-end collisions include the following:

  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Back injuries, including herniated discs and compression fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractures
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Soft-tissue injury
  • Facial injuries (from airbags)
  • Seat-belt-related internal organ injuries

Headaches, sleep disturbances, and emotional trauma are also commonly associated with the after-effects of rear-end collisions.

Causes of Rear-end Collisions in Florida

Most rear-end collisions result from driver negligence. Common causes include:

  • Tailgating (following too closely)
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Intoxicated driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Front-driver sudden stops

Mechanical failures such as brake failures in the rear vehicle or taillight failure in the front vehicle also contribute to rear-end accidents in Florida.

Recovering Damages After a Rear-End Collision Under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law

Florida is a no-fault insurance state, requiring accident victims to file claims against their own insurance policies except when they have catastrophic injuries due to another driver’s negligent or reckless action. Common damages claimed after rear-end collisions include the following:

  • Property damage
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Reimbursement for income loss
  • Future income loss or diminished future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other damages such as loss of enjoyment of life due to disability or pain, or PTSD

There are many physical and legal consequences of a rear-end collision for both parties in the accident.

Do I Need an Attorney After a Florida Rear-End Accident?

Whether you were the front or rear motorist, a rear-end collision in Florida commonly causes legal liability issues as well as injuries and property damage. An experienced Florida car accident lawyer provides the legal counsel and client-dedicated representation a motorist needs for guidance in their claim after a rear-end accident. At Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann our Sarasota car accident attorneys and Bradenton car accident lawyers permit free consultations. Contact us online or by calling (941) 954-4000 today.