There are about 1.7 million rear-end collisions each year. As Miami accident attorneys, we understand that rear-end collisions are common and can cause significant injury. Our sincere hope is that rear-end collisions decrease significantly in the near future. Our hope is that front-crash prevention systems will become a standard feature in most vehicles, thereby significantly reducing the number of injuries and deaths caused by these impacts. In fact, in 2015 the NHTSA reported that 10 major manufacturers have committed to making emergency braking a standard feature. It is estimated that emergency braking systems can reduce rear-end accidents by as much as 35%. These systems have resulted in a measurable decrease in property damage claims.
Now that we have discussed rear-end collision claims in general, let us turn to Florida law on the subject. In Florida, there is a rebuttable presumption that the rear-ending vehicle is at fault when such an accident occurs. In other words, the rear-ending vehicle is deemed to be at fault, unless proven otherwise. The Florida Supreme Court addressed this presumption in Maria Cevallos vs. Kerri Ann, (No. SC09-2239, 2012).
There the Supreme Court of Florida clarified this presumption and stated that “where evidence is produced from which a jury could conclude that the front driver in a rear-end collision was negligent in bringing about the collision—or that the negligence of the rear driver was not the sole proximate cause of the accident—the presumption that the rear driver’s negligence was the sole proximate cause of the collision is rebutted, and all issues of disputed fact regarding comparative fault and causation should be submitted to the jury. “(Id). Given the court’s previous statement, we must then define comparative fault. Luckily, the State of Florida has provided us with a pertinent statute and definition. Florida pertinent statute is 768.81 and states in part the following, “[i]n a negligence action, contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and non-economic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.” This means that recovery may be limited by the amount of negligence contributed by each party. For example, a victim may be partially liable and be determined to be 20% at fault. This would mean that the victim would recover 80% of his damages. Florida is a pure comparative State, which means that a victim can recover even if he bears most of the fault. Some states bar recovery even when the victim contributes in a very minor way, this is called pure contributory negligence. Only Four States in the union use the pure contributory negligence standard.
There are some 1,900,000 rear collisions in the U.S.A. About 6.6% of these rear-end collisions result in fatalities. Stats show that about 31.7% of rear-end collisions result in some type of injury. The types of injuries that can result from a rear-end collision vary. The injuries can vary from light injuries to severe injuries. However, we will leave this topic for another blog. The DRG Firm and its South Florida accident lawyers are here to assist and to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.888.413.8353.