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Rear-End Car Accidents

Is the Rear Driver Always at Fault in Orlando Rear-End Car Accidents?

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), over 1.7 million rear-end collisions happened in a single year in the United States, making this the most common kind of automobile accident in the U.S. Many rear-end crashes are caused by the negligence of one of the drivers involved and, in most situations, people automatically look at the rear driver to blame. However, the rear driver is not always at fault in this type of accident and it is important to understand Florida laws on the matter if you are involved in a rear-end collision.

Florida law regarding rear-end accident liability

Historically, Florida law mandated that the driver in the back should always be held at fault. This presumption of fault was justified by the assumption that, if a driver was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision, they were following the other vehicle too closely.

However, in 2012, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision that gave hope to rear drivers involved in collisions. The Court held that while the presumption of fault still exists, the rear driver has the opportunity to present evidence that the front driver's negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Even if both parties were partially at fault, Florida's comparative fault law still allows partial recovery for accident-related losses.

Ways the front driver can be negligent

There are many different ways that a front driver can cause or contribute to a rear-end car accident. The following are some examples of negligence of a front driver in this type of situation:

  • Cutting closely in front of another vehicle ("cutting them off")
  • Failing to check their blind spot before changing lanes
  • Erratic braking with no warning or noticeable reasoning
  • Having faulty taillights or brake lights
  • Trucks with trailers that are not properly lit or made visible
  • Slamming on brakes at high speeds
  • Losing control of the vehicle

These are only a few of the many ways a front driver's negligence can lead to a rear-end crash. It is important to remember that even if you were not paying attention or acted in a negligent manner yourself, it still may be possible to receive some compensation if the front driver also contributed to the accident.

Below are some of the few characteristics common with negligent drivers in general. Negligence occurs when a driver is driving carelessly and as a result causes an injury. There are many different ways that parties can be negligent and cause serious auto accidents and injuries. The following are only a few examples:

  • Texting, using a smartphone, or other distracted driving
  • Driving after drinking or using drugs
  • Speeding or violating other traffic laws or traffic signals
  • Aggressive driving, including tailgating, dangerous passing, or threatening other drivers
  • Failing to properly maintain a vehicle
  • Selling defective vehicles or vehicle parts, such as brakes, tires, or airbags
  • The existence of dangerous road hazards, including potholes or poorly marked lanes

Learn how an Orlando automobile injury attorney can help you An experienced car accident attorney will know how to evaluate the circumstances surrounding you rear-end collision to determine your legal rights and options. Even if the front driver was not negligent, a lawyer can assist you with your own insurance claim to ensure your medical costs and other losses are covered. If you need help do not hesitate to call the office of J. Allen Law, P.L. at 407-205-2330.

Note: Above is a simplification and a brief overview provided for informational purposes only. There are additional considerations and exceptions that could be applicable to your specific circumstances. You should not rely on any information provided here and should seek an experienced and caring litigation attorney as soon as possible before making any decisions.


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