The Presumption Of Negligence In Rear-End Car Accidents
Rear-end car accidents are one of the most common types of collisions. In fact, they are thought to account for almost 30 percent of traffic accidents. Even minor rear-end crashes can result in significant vehicle damage and injuries, while the more severe collisions can lead to permanent disability.
Rear-End Car Accidents
Rear-end collisions, as their name suggests, occur when the front end of one vehicle collides with the back end of another vehicle. Rear-end accidents can range in seriousness, with the more minor collisions qualifying as fender benders and perhaps only resulting in a dented bumper. Crashes that occur at higher speeds, on the other hand, could have much more significant consequences, resulting in totaled vehicles and serious neck, back, and head injuries. These risks become even higher when the initial rear-end crash results in a chain reaction collision involving multiple parties. Multi-vehicle accidents tend to have some of the most catastrophic consequences of any car accident when it comes to injuries, as victims are forced to suffer from multiple blunt force impacts, often from a variety of directions.
Presumption of Negligence
These kinds of accidents require a bit of a different approach when it comes to determining liability. In most car accident cases, for example, no driver is automatically presumed to have been at fault for causing a crash. The driver of the vehicle who strikes another car in a T-bone collision, for instance, isn’t assumed to have been negligent from the get-go. With rear-end crashes, however, the driver in the rear is presumed to be responsible for the crash. The reasoning behind this presumption is that it’s difficult for drivers in the front to determine what the cars behind them are doing. No such difficulty, however, exists for the drivers of the cars in the rear, who have a clear view of what’s ahead. For this reason, it is the driver in the back who is in the best position to avoid striking the car in front of him or her and who will be presumed negligent in a car accident lawsuit.
Overcoming the Presumption
It is possible for rear-end accident victims who were driving in the rear vehicle to overcome the presumption of negligence by establishing that:
- The crash was caused by a mechanical failure in the rear driver’s vehicle;
- The lead driver suddenly stopped;
- The lead driver made a sudden lane change without warning; or
- The lead driver made an illegal or improper stop.
A person who is able to overcome the presumption may be entitled to damages. That award could, however, be reduced if the rear driver is still found to bear some responsibility for the crash. As long as the rear driver isn’t more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, then he or she won’t be barred from recovery. Instead, the recoverable amount will be reduced in proportion to his or her degree of fault for the accident.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Auto Accident Attorneys
To speak with one of the experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys about recovering compensation after a rear-end collision, call Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 or send us an online message today.