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Is Fault Always Automatically Assigned In Rear End Collisions?

When being rear ended or accidentally rear ending someone else, the average driver believes that the person who hit the car in the rear is at fault. This is not always the case. Florida uses a system of comparative negligence. That means that insurance companies and courts look at the full circumstances of an accident, and split negligence according to the details among the drivers involved. Thus, negligence can also be proved by the driver who rear-ended the other driver.

Negligence In Rear End Collisions

When a driver's actions fall below an established and reasonable standard of care, they are considered to be negligent. So what would a reasonable person have done that the driver did not do that led to the accident is what determines negligence. In order to determine fault or “negligence”, the driver has to prove a reasonable standard of care existed. This is not all that difficult as it is reasonable for all drivers to exercise care and be observant when driving a motor vehicle. Then you must show that the other driver did not demonstrate a reasonable standard of care. Some examples of reasonable care include:

● Not paying attention to the road and watching for road hazards.
● Not driving at posted speeds or road conditions
● Not yielding the right of way
● Not using their turn signals
● Not stopping within a reasonable time frame
● Losing control of the automobile
● Not following a safe, distance

You then must prove that the drivers lack of reasonable standard of care was the cause of the accident. Lastly you have to demonstrate that you sustained actual injuries such as damage to your car and any personal injuries that resulted due to the accident. What happens if both drivers are determined to be at fault, or there are more than two drivers?

Understanding Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence places fault between the two drivers. The driver’s liability might be reduced, but not necessarily eliminated if the other driver is shown to be even partly at fault for the accident. The comparative negligence has two variations:

● Pure Comparative Negligence: The liability is divided according to the established percent of fault each driver contributed to the accident. An example of this is if Driver A is found to be at blame for 70% of the accident and Driver B found to be responsible and at fault for 30% of the accident which resulted in $10,000 in damages, Driver B can only collect $7,000 from Driver A.

● Modified Comparative Negligence: Liability of the accident is divided according to each driver’s percentage of fault. If Driver A meets or exceeds the level of fault, they are barred from any recovery. The limit is usually 50%. So that is to say that if Driver A is more than 50% at fault for the accident, then Driver A cannot recover anything from the other at fault drivers.

As you can see, determining fault in a rear end accident isn’t always straightforward in the state of Florida.

How An Auto Attorney Can Help After A Rear End Collision

Whether you’ve been rear ended or rear ended someone else, because of the complexities of liability, it’s best to always hire an attorney. A knowledgeable Florida accident attorney, like the team at All Injuries Law Firm, can help. We’ll review the details of the case. Collect evidence to prove or disprove liability and then begin negotiations with the insurance company. With 30 years of experience defending auto accident victims, we know all the ins and outs of comparative fault laws and can help make sure that you get the fair compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review and to understand your legal rights after a rear end collision.