Recovering Compensation After a Rear-End Collision
Rear-end collisions, no matter how minor they may initially seem to be, have some of the worst repercussions of any car accident. This is largely due to the fact that rear-end accidents often result in debilitating neck injuries that plague accident victims for years to come, turning their lives upside down with the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of the collision. Regrettably, these types of collisions occur far too often. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that rear-end accidents account for nearly 30 percent of all car crashes.
Fortunately, Florida car accident victims do have options when it comes to collecting compensation for their collision-related losses, so if you were recently hurt in a rear-end crash, it is critical to consult with an experienced auto accident lawyer who is well-versed in state insurance laws and can help you seek compensation for your losses.
No-Fault Auto Insurance
Florida is one of only a handful of states that adhere to the no-fault car insurance model, which means that in most cases, motorists who are injured in car accidents in the state are required to seek compensation from their own insurers to cover any related losses. There are, however, some exceptions to this default rule, in which case, an accident victim can step outside of the no-fault auto insurance rules and file a lawsuit based on liability against the person who caused his or her accident.
Rear-End Accidents Resulting in Serious Injuries
Florida motorists are only permitted to file a claim against the person who caused their accident if a collision resulted in:
- Losses exceeding $10,000; or
- A serious injury.
To meet the threshold of a serious injury in Florida, a person must be able to prove that he or she suffered one of the following types of injuries as a result of a car accident:
- The significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- A permanent injury other than scarring or disfigurement;
- Significant and permanent disfigurement or scarring; or
Rear-end accident victims whose injuries satisfy this definition could have standing to file a lawsuit against the person who caused their accident. This means that injured motorists also have the option of recovering compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering and emotional distress, neither of which are available to injured motorists who file claims with their insurers.
Negligence in a Rear-End Car Accident
Motorists whose injuries satisfy the state’s definition of serious will be eligible to file a claim against the at-fault party in court, where they will be required to prove that:
- The other driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care;
- The other driver breached that duty;
- The breach directly caused the plaintiff’s accident; and
- The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of the collision.
In most cases, it is the motorist in the rear position who will be found negligent in a rear-end car accident case. Common negligent acts that result in these kinds of collisions include speeding, falling asleep at the wheel, following too closely, or driving while distracted.