If you suffered injuries after being rear ended in Florida, your life could be turned upside down by the physical, financial, and emotional consequences. Unfortunately, these types of accidents occur all too often. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Annual Report for 2017, there are more than 164,000 injury-causing crashes every year. It’s estimated that around 23-30 percent are rear-end collisions.
On the upside, you do have rights as a victim. An experienced Florida car accident lawyer can describe your remedies in more detail, but you can also read on for some important information about rear-end crashes.
Florida is a No-Fault State
A handful of US states follow the rule of “no-fault” in car accident claims which means that you would usually seek compensation from your own insurance company to cover your losses. You don’t need to show that anyone was responsible for causing the accident. This is contrary to “at-fault” laws, where you’d file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurer.
However, there are some key exceptions to this default rule, and they center on the severity of your injuries. When you’re seriously hurt in a rear-end or other type of collision, you CAN pursue the other motorist under a theory of liability called negligence in the practice of law.
Negligence in a Rear-End Collision
To recover compensation, you’ll need to prove the essential elements of a negligence-based case, which are:
- The other motorist had a duty to exercise reasonable care when driving;
- That person breached this duty;
- The breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident in which you were hurt; and,
- You suffered losses because of your injuries.
Under Florida rear end collision law, the motorist in the rear position is determined to be negligent in the majority of cases. Typical negligent acts are speeding, following too closely, or driving while distracted.
Comparative Fault May Affect Your Claim
Though the driver behind you is often at fault in a rear-end collision, you should note that your own actions could affect your claim under Florida’s statute on comparative negligence. If you contributed to the accident, your compensation may be reduced by the amount of blame attributable to you. In other words, even where you’re entitled to monetary damages, you could receive less based upon the percentage of your negligence. In a rear-end crash, examples of comparative fault may include:
- Stopping suddenly on a busy roadway;
- Not having properly working brake lights; or,
- Driving well under the speed limit without your light on.
Trust a Florida Car Accident Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Regardless of whether you were rear ended in Florida or suffered injuries in another type of crash, legal representation is essential. To learn more about your legal options as a victim, please contact Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon today. We can schedule a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Pensacola or Miramar Beach. Our lawyers handle car accident claims for clients throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast, and we’re happy to help.