Is the Rear Driver Always at Fault Under Florida Law?

Many people assume that the rear driver is always at fault in a rear-end collision. This is somewhat of a misconception. While the rear driver is typically held liable in the case of a crash, that’s not always the case. If you expect to recover damages, your Miami car accident attorney will still have to prove fault.

There Are Many Factors That Can Determine Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision

There are several factors, aside from who was the rear driver that determine fault in a rear-end accident.

For example, if the lead driver suddenly stops their vehicle or slows down without warning, it can be difficult for the driver in the rear to react in time to avoid an accident.

Weather conditions can also play a role. If it’s raining or snowing, visibility may be reduced, and it may be more difficult to stop in time.

There Are Time When the Rear Driver Is Clearly at Fault

The facts of your case will dictate who is at fault. For instance, if the other driver was tailgating, they may not have enough time to react to a sudden stop by the car ahead.

The same is true if the defendant was distracted behind the wheel. It’s your attorney’s job to submit sufficient evidence to prove that the other driver was at fault.

Rear-end collision

The Defendant Will Argue That You Were at Fault

While you’re trying to prove that the defendant caused the accident, they’re doing the same. Their goal is to prove that you were at least partially at fault. Otherwise, the insurance company may have to pay your claim in full.

The good news is that, even if you’re partly at fault, there’s still a chance you may collect damages.

Florida Recently Changed the Law Regarding Comparative Fault

Until recently, Florida allowed plaintiffs to collect damages in a civil case even if they were 99% at fault. However, on March 24 of 2023, the Florida Senate passed House Bill 837 which changed the law.

This bill changed the rule so that you can only recover damages if you’re less than 51% at fault. Just keep in mind, even if you can prove that the other driver was 50% at fault, you won’t collect damages. The two parties would both walk away with nothing.

When Can the Lead Driver Be at Fault for a Rear-End Accident? 

There are situations when the front driver in a rear-end collision is at fault. For example:

  • The driver in front slammed on the brakes, giving you no time to avoid a collision.
  • The driver accidentally put the car in reverse instead of in drive.
  • The lead driver stopped in the middle of the flow of traffic.

The driver in front could be found partially at fault if his or her brake lights were not working.

It’s Worth Discussing Your Case With a Miami Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a rear-end accident, it’s easy to assume the rear driver will be liable for damages. And, in most rear-end collisions, this is the case. However, you should have a seasoned Miami injury attorney review your case before you do anything.

To discuss your claim with an experienced lawyer, contact our office at 754-799-7321 and schedule your free case review.