Rear End Collisions
More than 1.7 million rear-end collisions occur in the U.S. every year, resulting in 1,700 deaths and 500,000 injuries according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Rear-end crashes are one of the most frequently occurring type of traffic accident, and they are almost always the result of preventable negligence, usually by the driver in the rear. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded in research that almost 9 in 10 rear-end collisions happen because the rear motorist wasn’t paying attention. Other causes of rear-end crashes include:
- Driving too closely.
- Speeding in unfavorable weather/ road conditions.
- Traffic congestion.
- Impaired driving.
- Incorrect assumption about front driver’s actions.
Florida allows a rebuttable presumption of negligence by the rear driver. What that means is there is a legal presumption of liability on the part of the rear driver, though that presumption can be rebutted. The effect of a rebuttable presumption is a shifting of the proof burden from the plaintiff to the defendant.
This means liability in rear-end car accidents is more rarely something that is heavily disputed (though it’s not an impossibility). The genuine issue of fact in dispute in rear-end crash cases is usually the extent of the damages. In other words, defense attorneys will argue you are not hurt as badly as you allege, or alternatively that the crash was not the cause of your injuries.A Fort Myers Injury Lawyer Who Fights for You
Fort Myers car accident attorneys at The Garvin Law Firm fight for the rights of injury victims and their familes. Effectively pushing back on rebuttals of liability and challenges to causation require a legal team with both the knowledge of how to win these cases and the resources to cover upfront expenses such as consultation with crash reconstruction experts and economic analyses to identify the full scope of damages.
Although your case may seem an obvious win at the start, in settlement negotiations and a court of law, your arguments still must be supported by persuasive evidence. Even if you were the victim in a rear-end collision, you need to be prepared to present strong evidence on each of your claims.
Factors that will impact the seriousness of your crash (and thus the extent of your damages) will include:
- The angle at which the vehicle was struck;
- The speed at which one or both vehicles were traveling;
- Where you were seated in the vehicle (rear passengers may suffer more serious injuries due to being closer to initial impact);
- Whether this was a two-car crash or a chain reaction crash involving numerous vehicles.
Injuries in Fort Myers rear end accident cases can include broken bones, facial fractures, crush injuries, internal organ damage, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, whiplash/ neck injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Healing might last a few weeks or it could mean a lifetime of disability – or even death. Full and adequate compensation is something to which you are entitled – and should not hesitate to seek with the help of an experienced injury lawyer.Rear End Collisions and Rebuttable Presumption
The rebuttable presumption of negligence in rear-end crash cases (the origin of which is outlined in the 2000 Florida Supreme Court decision of Eppler v. Tarmac America, Inc.) is a valuable tool in settlement talks or litigation. Unless this presumption is rebutted, the plaintiff would be entitled to judgment on that issue as a matter of law. It is not, however, considered an absolute and it does not supersede Florida’s comparative negligence system.
In Birge v. Charron, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in 2012 the rebuttable presumption of fault by rear drivers in these crashes can be dissipated when evidence is produced from which jurors could conclude the front driver was negligent.
F.S. 768.81, Florida’s comparative fault law, holds that any damages or compensation you receive for injuries caused by another’s negligence can be proportionately reduced by your own fault in the case. That means even with the advantage of rebuttable presumption, jurors could find you were still partially to blame for the wreck, and in turn reduce your total damage award by that percentage. So if you suffered $100,000 in damages, but jurors find you 20 percent at-fault, you would only be entitled to receive $80,000 – not the full $100,000.
If you are injured in a rear-end collision, our experienced injury attorneys in Fort Myers can help you determine the best course of action.
Contact The Garvin Law Firm car accident attorneys in Fort Myers today at 239.277.0005 or online for a free case review.