I Was Injured in a Rear-End Car Accident in Miami Florida – What Florida Law Applies in Rear-End Collisions (ie., Florida Rear-End Accident Law) With a Car, Truck, Taxi, Motorcycle, Big Rig or 18 Wheeler?

Florida rear-end car collision_accident_fightsforyou.netThe traffic and congestion on South Florida roads is getting worse, especially the rush hour work commute on the Florida turnpike, I-95, I-75, I-4, State Road 27, State Road 41, Alligator Alley and US 1. When there is a lot of traffic, particularly cars, trucks, SUV’s. motorcycles, mopeds, go-cars, taxicabs, limousines, county buses, vans, 18 wheeler’s and big rigs constantly changing lanes and speeding to pass other motor vehicles,  Miami Florida rear-end car accidents are bound to happen. In fact, with the amount of cell phone use and texting while driving, and the rush that everyone is in to get to their destination so quickly, Florida rear-end collisions are very common (especially low speed collisions or fender benders with very little property damage) and can usually be avoided if the rear-end driver was simply paying attention, not speeding, not following too closely (ie., enough car lengths between their vehicle and your vehicle), staying in their lane and not cutting other vehicles off, yielding the right of way, not running through red lights or yellow lights, and braking in time when the traffic in front comes to a sudden stop or complete stop.

When one is involved in a rear-end collision in Florida due to a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DWI or DUI), a question often asked of a Hialeah Florida rear-end accident law attorney or Miami rear-end collision lawyer, is whether they can be found liable or at fault for the accident and can be sued in a lawsuit for bodily injury (ie., pain and suffering and resultant medical bills, hospital bills, surgery, etc.) and motor vehicle property damage (such as when the car is considered a total loss) when they are the car in front or the middle car in a three car accident or pileup. Reason being, in a lot of low speed car collisions where the impact is minor and not serious, while you as the driver being rear-ended are not hurt (perhaps you have bruises, soreness, stiffness or soft tissue injuries such as neck or back pain, sprains and strains that eventually go away with treatment by a chiropractor, physical therapy or massage therapy), sometimes, passengers are not wearing seat belts and can be jolted around the car and thereby sustain injuries due to striking a portion of the car (dashboard, steering wheel or windshield), or the driver of the car that rear-ended you sometimes sustains serious permanent injuries (whiplash is common, head injuries, post concussive syndrome, broken bones and spine fractures, herniated and bulging discs, etc.) that are much worse than the rear-ended vehicle you are driving in – sometimes, fatalities or even death occurs due to Florida rear-end collisions and for which a wrongful death lawsuit or case may arise.  In these scenarios, the driver or passenger in the truck that rear-ended your vehicle could bring a lawsuit arising out of the Homestead rear-end car accident, wherein many of those rear-end car crash cases either go to trial or a settlement is reached with your car insurance carrier.

Question is, what is the Florida rear-end accident law or Florida rear-end collision law applicable to these types of Fort Lauderdale Florida rear-end car accidents? Common sense tells you that the car that rear-ended your vehicle would likely be at fault.  Well, your intuition would be correct, Florida law for the greater part of the last forty plus years said that in Orlando Florida rear-end car collisions, the rear-end driver (as well as owner under Florida’s dangerous instrumentality law) was presumed to be at fault and negligent in causing the car crash unless the presumption was rebutted by evidence that you as the driver of the vehicle in front (1) cut off the other vehicle or suddenly changed lanes; (2) you came to a sudden or unexpected stop or slow down in a place where it would not reasonably be expected; (3) the rear-ending vehicle suffered a mechanical failure (such as engine, brake or tire failure); or (4) you improperly stopped or illegally parked your vehicle in a manner that it was unexpectedly stopped in the middle of the road, street, bridge or highway such that you are the sole cause of the rear-end accident.

However, the Florida Supreme Court recently turned this established Florida rear-end accident law precedent on its head in the rear-end car and motorcycle collision cases of Cevallos v. Rideout, 107 So.3d 348 (Fla. 2012) and Birge v. Charron, 107 So.3d 350 (Fla. 2012), wherein the Court held that in Florida rear-end motor vehicle collision accidents, they are “substantively governed by the principles of comparative negligence such that the presumption of negligence that attached to a rear driver in a rear-end motor vehicle collision could be rebutted in a negligence action by production of evidence of the negligence on the part of the front driver.” Thus, in these Florida rear-end collision accident lawsuits, “where evidence is produced from which a jury could conclude that the front driver in a rear-end collision was negligent in bringing about the collision—or that the negligence of the rear driver was not the sole proximate cause of the accident—the presumption that the rear driver’s negligence was the sole proximate cause of the collision is rebutted, and all issues of disputed fact regarding comparative fault and causation should be submitted to the jury.” In fact, “regardless of whether an injury is caused by the fault of a front driver, a rear driver, or both, [the] comparative fault statute entitles a plaintiff to judgment ‘against each’ liable party, on the basis of that party’s percentage of fault.”

Moral of the Story: if you are injured and a fatality (ie., wrongful death) occurs due to a Miami Florida rear-end automobile accident or a Homestead Florida rear-end collision, whether you are a driver, passenger or owner of the vehicle in front that is rear ended, or are in the truck that rear-ends another motorcycle in a three car pileup, whether it happens in Hardee County, Hendry County, Hernando County, Highlands County, Hillsborough County, Holmes County, Indian River County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Lafayette County, Lake County, Lee County, Leon County, Levy County, Liberty County, Madison County, Manatee County, Marion County, Martin County, Nassau County, Okaloosa County, Miami Beach, Hialeah, West Kendall, Homestead, the Florida Keys, Englewood, Highlands County, Florida City, Miami Shores, Fort Myers Beach, Miami Lakes, Everglades City, Key West or another area within Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach, or anywhere in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe Counties, know that regardless of whether an injury is caused by the fault of a front driver, a rear driver, or both, the comparative fault statute entitles a plaintiff to judgment against each’ liable party on the basis of that party’s percentage of fault, to which this may require the retention of a Miami Florida rear-end accident lawyer or a Miami Beach rear-end collision injury attorney, given the many complexities involved in these types of cases and lawsuits.

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