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Lakeland Family & Divorce Attorney / Blog / Car Accident / In a Florida Rear-End Accident, Is the Rear Driver Always To Blame?

In a Florida Rear-End Accident, Is the Rear Driver Always To Blame?


Rear-end accidents are quite common in the United States of America. The NHTSA reports that rear-end collisions are the most frequently occurring type of collision. According to the NHTSA, rear-end crashes account for almost 30% of all auto accidents and cause many injuries and deaths annually. In Florida, the negligent party is liable for compensating the other party after a rear-end accident.

If you were involved in a Florida rear-end accident as the front driver, you may assume that the rear driver is automatically to blame for your accident and, thus, fully responsible for your injuries and damages. But is this the case? Is the rear driver always to blame for a rear-end accident in Florida? While the rear driver is usually held liable in the case of a rear-end crash, that is not always the case. Determining fault after a Florida rear-end collision is not always straightforward. Below is more about liability in a rear-end accident.

Why Is the Rear Driver Normally Presumed To Be at Fault?

There has long been a presumption of negligence in the case of rear-end collisions in Florida. This is because, often, rear-end crashes are an issue of the rear driver following the vehicle in front of them too closely. In Florida, all drivers are required to keep a proper following distance between them and the car in front of them. When a rear-end accident happens, it usually appears that the rear driver was probably following the vehicle in front of them too closely.

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is to blame for about 87% of rear-end accidents. Examples of distracted driving behaviors that can cause rear-end accidents include phone use, wandering eyes, and playing with the radio or another vehicle gadget.

The Front Driver Can Also Be at Fault for a Rear-End Accident

Fault for rear-end accidents do not always solely rest on the rear driver. Sometimes, the front driver is to blame (at least partially) for the accident. The following are some of the circumstances that may result in the front driver being held responsible for a rear-end collision;

  • The lights on the front vehicle are not working
  • A sudden brake at a location and time that is not foreseeable
  • The front driver pulls out directly in front of the rear driver and fails to keep up with speed
  • The front driver did not use their turn signal to indicate they were planning to make a turn

Comparative Fault in a Florida Rear-End Accident Case

Fortunately, if you were involved in a Florida rear-end crash as the front driver and are partially to blame for your accident, you may still be eligible for compensation. Until recently, plaintiffs in Florida auto accident cases could recover compensation even if they were 99% responsible for the accident. However, House Bill 837 changed the law such that you can only recover compensation in an auto accident case if you are less than 51% to blame for your accident.

Contact a Lakeland, FL, Auto Accident Lawyer Today

If you were involved in a rear-end accident, you can trust our Lakeland auto accident attorneys at Darla K. Snead, P.L., to effectively handle your case. Our Lakeland car accident attorneys have a wealth of experience successfully handling rear-end accident claims. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. With an office in Lakeland, our firm represents auto accident victims in Polk County and beyond.




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