Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident?

Sometimes it’s not easy to prove who was at fault for a traffic accident, but if you’ve been injured and you need compensation, proving who was liable is what’s required. To do that, you’ll need the advice and services of a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.

In rear-end collisions, we usually assume that the motorist driving the rear vehicle was at-fault, but that may not always be the case. In Florida, if you’re injured in this kind of crash, what will you need to do to prove the other driver was negligent – and acquire the compensation you need?

If you’ll keep reading, that question will be answered in this short discussion of liability, rear-end collisions, and the rights of those who are injured by negligent drivers here in Florida.

How Many Are Hurt in Rear-End Collisions?

Rear-end collisions are not rare or unusual. More than 1.5 million rear-end collisions happen in the United States every year, resulting in more than 1,500 fatalities and roughly half-a-million reported injuries.

Blows to the head and traumatic brain injuries are often the result of rear-end collisions, but spinal cord and back injuries can be just as devastating and catastrophic. Victims who sustain these injuries will require the maximum amount of compensation that’s available.

In rear-end collisions, when a driver crashes or rolls into a vehicle that is legally parked or stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, the driver in the moving vehicle is almost always deemed liable for the collision.

Can Responsibility for Rear-End Collisions Be Shared?

Stopping a vehicle safely is perhaps the most important part of driving. A motorist who cannot safely bring a vehicle to a stop and causes an accident is usually considered the negligent party. Even so, in some cases, the other driver will have at least a share of the responsibility.

Drivers should leave sufficient space between vehicles so that, if a motorist suddenly stops in front of you for no obvious reason, you can stop your vehicle safely. But in fast-moving or heavy traffic, sometimes there’s nothing you can do if a motorist slams on the brakes unexpectedly.

In some rear-end crashes, the motorist in front can be held partially responsible if his or her brake or taillights were broken, if that driver makes a turn without a turn signal, or if he or she doesn’t use hazard lights or blinkers when stopping because there’s a problem with the vehicle.

What is the Role of a Personal Injury Attorney?

However, when you were the driver in the rear vehicle, it may be difficult to prove that the other driver had any share of the fault. In this situation, you will need the advice and guidance that a good south Florida personal injury attorney can provide.

A personal injury lawyer will review the police report, any photos of the accident site and the damaged vehicles, the records of your medical treatment, and any eyewitness statements to determine precisely how the crash occurred and which motorist should be deemed liable.

After identifying which motorist is liable for a rear-end collision, if the law entitles you to compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, and related losses, your lawyer will negotiate – or if the case goes to trial, ask a jury – for the compensation you need and deserve.

What Should You Do After a Rear-End Collision?

If a negligent driver crashes into you from behind and injures you, do not admit or confess fault. Don’t accept a settlement offer, and don’t sign any insurance documents or make any statement to the other driver’s insurance company before you’ve consulted your personal injury attorney.

Especially in rear-end collisions at low speeds, auto insurance companies have offered injury victims settlement amounts that are substantially below the actual amount the victim is entitled to. Don’t make a quick settlement for a sum that’s less than your injury claim is really worth.

Safety experts have found that in rear-end accidents, headrests provide the best defense against spinal cord, head, and neck injuries. Don’t set a headrest too low, however, as that could strain and hyperextend your neck if your vehicle is struck from behind.

Why is Having a Medical Exam Essential?

Some of the injuries sustained in rear-end collisions aren’t immediately obvious and could remain latent and undiscovered. Even if you don’t “feel” injured, if you’ve been in a rear-end crash – even at a low speed – have a medical exam as quickly as possible.

Every Florida driver should know about the “14-day rule.” Should you suffer injuries – including latent injuries – and you don’t have a medical exam within 14 days of an accident, a Florida auto insurance company may not reimburse you through your personal injury coverage.

The 14-day rule is a difficult-to-overcome legal obstacle to injured victims of negligence who don’t seek medical attention immediately. This cannot be stressed strongly enough: after any traffic accident in this state, you must have a medical examination as soon as possible.

The 14-day rule is not the only obstacle to compensation that a victim of negligence faces in our state.

Who May File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A victim may only file a personal injury claim if he or she suffers permanent loss of an important bodily function, has suffered substantial and permanent scarring and disfigurement, or if the injuries are permanently disabling.

A physician must make that determination, and you’ll need a south Florida accident lawyer to guide you through the legal hurdles required to obtain compensation. In some cases, if it’s necessary, your attorney may arrange for a second doctor to provide a second opinion.

If your attorney’s investigation of the accident indicates that a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part was the underlying cause of an accident, he or she may recommend filing a product liability lawsuit against the maker of the vehicle or the part.

Victims of Negligence Need Personalized Legal Advice

You’ve been reading a general introduction to liability for rear-end collisions in Florida. However, if the injury victim is you, you’ll want to know more, so you will need precise and personalized legal advice.

If you are injured in a south Florida traffic crash, now or in the future, after you’ve been treated by a medical provider, seek legal guidance at once from a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. If you expect to receive compensation for your injuries, you’re going to need that help.