Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of car accidents. Although many of these collisions lead only to property damage, they can be extremely devastating for drivers and their passengers—even when they occur at relatively low speeds. Because Florida follows a no-fault system for motor vehicle accidents, you may be eligible for compensation after a rear-end collision even if you were to blame. Motorists in both the front and rear vehicle can file a claim with their own insurance providers and seek compensation through their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
Our Tallahassee rear-end collision lawyer at Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. to discuss your case during a free consultation. Our firm has been fighting on behalf of injured individuals throughout Leon County since 1997. We have what it takes to advocate for you and seek the maximum compensation you are owed.
Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Florida?
Drivers have a responsibility to keep a safe distance between themselves and the vehicles in front of them. Following too closely, or “tailgating,” is not only dangerous, but it is also against the law. This is because drivers often cannot stop in time when they are too close behind a vehicle that slows down or stops, leading to rear-end collisions.
Because of this responsibility to maintain a safe distance, rear drivers involved in rear-end collisions are typically at fault for these types of crashes. Often, it is discovered that the rear driver was negligent and could have avoided the crash had they maintained a safe distance. Other times, rear drivers are found to have been texting while driving or simply not paying attention. Under the state’s “rebuttable presumption,” victims of rear-end collisions do not necessarily need to prove that the rear driver was negligent; if they can prove that they were rear-ended, they typically have a case.
However, this does not mean the rear driver is always at fault. There are some instances in which the front driver in a rear-end collision could be partially or fully to blame.
Examples include cases in which:
- One or both of the front vehicle’s brake lights were not working
- The driver of the front vehicle stopped suddenly without reason
- The front vehicle was stopped unlawfully or without reason in the roadway
- The rear driver was unable to avoid hitting the front vehicle because the front vehicle’s driver was driving erratically, negligently, or recklessly
The rear driver may also have lessened liability if their vehicle experienced a mechanical failure or had some defect that contributed to the accident. Additionally, in cases involving more than two vehicles, fault may be shared among multiple parties, lessening liability for each party involved.
Why Fault Matters in Rear-End Collision Cases
Although Florida follows a no-fault system, meaning you do not have to prove another person was at fault for an accident to file a PIP claim with your insurance carrier, it is still important to establish liability in rear-end collision cases. This is because PIP coverage is limited.
In Florida, PIP only covers:
- 80% of your medical expenses, up to a $10,000 limit
- 60% of your lost income/wages
- Various miscellaneous expenses, such as in-home care costs
PIP does not cover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Most notably, however, PIP’s medical coverage is considerably low.
Rear-end collisions often lead to serious injuries, such as whiplash, neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. The cost of treating these injuries can easily exceed tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. On top of this, victims will likely experience significant loss of income due to being unable to work for months or even years. Your PIP insurance will not even come close to covering these losses.
This is where it becomes necessary to step outside the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
To do this, you will need to prove several important things:
- You were injured in a motor vehicle accident
- Your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold
- Another driver was at fault for the accident
To meet the Florida “serious injury” threshold, your injuries must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Your injuries included a bone fracture
- Your injuries resulted in “significant” disfigurement
- Your injuries led to significant/permanent impairment of a bodily function, system, organ, or member
- Your injuries caused you to be “substantially” and fully disabled for at least 90 days
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., our Tallahassee rear-end collision attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options following the accident. You could be entitled to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in addition to collecting compensation through your PIP coverage. Reach out to our firm today to learn more about your specific options during a free consultation.
Put More Than 25 Years of Experience on Your Side
If you were injured or if someone you love was killed in a rear-end collision, we at Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. extended our deepest sympathies. We understand the trauma you have been through, as well as the many challenges you still face. Led by Attorney Paul Shapiro, our team is here to fight for the justice you deserve and the fair financial compensation you need to heal.
We have been serving Leon County and the surrounding areas since 1997, providing compassionate, client-focused service and aggressive representation driven by results. We strive to secure maximum compensation in every case and are prepared to represent you at trial if needed.
Paul A. Shapiro
I became a personal injury attorney because I wanted to help people. What we do here is really about you – it's about your injuries… your rights… and it's about fairness and justice for you. After 25 years in practice in Tallahassee, I'm proud to have provided counsel, and helped so many people get what they really deserve. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we will always keep the personal in personal injury law.
— Paul A. Shapiro, Personal Injury Lawyer" Read Full Bio
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