If you have ever been involved in a Florida car accident, you know that one or more drivers will likely be assigned fault at the scene and ticketed by law enforcement. Most drivers are aware that the rear driver in a rear end collision is typically at fault. In fact, sometimes at-fault do not seek legal counsel following an accident in which they were injured out of belief that they have no recourse. However, that is a common misconception.
Florida follows the rules of comparative fault which means each party is responsible for their share of fault in a collision on a percentage basis. This does mean your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault, if any, if your case proceeds to trial. However, it does not mean you cannot recover. Your share of fault may not even be a major factor in the damages analysis if your claim settles out of court.
For rear end collisions specifically, although there is a rebuttable presumption the rear driver was at fault, there are several defenses including the following:
- Sudden and unexpected or illegal stops by the front driver
- Mechanical failure of your vehicle
- A third driver rear-ended you
A rear driver may recover compensation from the front driver for their injuries if one of these exceptions to the general rule applies.
Ultimately, even if you were assigned fault by law enforcement, you may not be entirely to blame when the claim is evaluated by an insurance company or by a jury at trial. You may share some of the blame, but under comparative fault rules, be able to receive some share of your damages reduced by your proportion of fault.
The experienced personal injury attorneys are Oldham & Delcamp are familiar with these cases and will review the evidence to present your position in the best light possible to the insurance company and before a jury if needed.