In every car accident, the parties who were involved in the accident will have to determine which of them was at fault for causing the accident, so that they know which party or parties will be responsible for compensating all those injured or damaged by the accident. Although in some car accident cases it isn’t clear which party was responsible for causing the accident, in other cases it is far clearer which party bears liability for the crash.
Rear-accident accidents are among those types of crashes where it is easier to determine which party is responsible for causing the accident. Generally, there is a presumption that the driver of the vehicle in behind is responsible for the crash; this is because all drivers owe a duty to leave enough space between themselves and the vehicle in front to safely slow down and stop. If a rear-end accident occurs, it is presumed the crash happened because the driver of the vehicle in back either wasn’t paying attention to the road and failed to brake in time or because he or she didn’t leave enough room to safely slow down or stop before colliding with the vehicle in front.
Of course, there may be mitigating factors in a rear-end car accident that affects liability for the accident, which is why it is important to understand what happens at a rear-end car accident scene.
At the Scene of the Accident
Police will come to the scene of a rear-end accident if someone calls 911 to report the accident or if one of the drivers calls the police department to report the accident. If an officer does come to the scene, he or she will prepare a police accident report. Police accident reports contain the findings of the officer who reports to and investigates the scene of the crash. In many cases, the report will set forth the officer’s determination of who was at fault for the accident; the report will also note if any drivers were ticketed or arrested for the crash. Police accident reports are often one of the key pieces of evidence in any car accident claim, as insurance companies often heavily rely on the officer’s reporting to assign fault for the crash.
If the police do not respond to the scene of the accident (which may happen if there were no injuries), then it is up to the drivers to report the accident to the local police – even if no officer is called to or responds to the accident, drivers are required by Florida law to report the accident if it apparent there has been at least $500 in property damage.
Proving Fault in a Rear-End Accident
As already noted, there is a strong legal presumption that the driver of the vehicle in rear is responsible for causing a rear-end accident. However, it is possible for that driver to overcome the presumption and prove that someone else was at fault for the accident. For example, the driver may be able to argue that the other driver who got rear-ended is to blame for the accident if he or she cut in front of the rear vehicle without signaling and when it was not safe to do so. Or the driver in rear might argue that a third driver bears some or all of the liability for the crash if that third driver cut off the rear-ended vehicle or made some other unsafe maneuver that ultimately triggered the rear-end crash.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured because of car accidents in Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Weston, Coconut Creek, and throughout Florida. Call 954-525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.