At some point, you’ve probably heard that in rear-end car accidents, the driver toward the back is always at fault. And if you’ve recently been in one of these accidents, you’re probably wondering when you should hire a Tampa Injury Lawyer if it’s true.
The issue of liability is a complicated one, far less cut-and-dry than many assume it to be. Indeed, most car crashes are followed by a disagreement between insurance companies and attorneys as to who was at fault and how much the victims are owed.
There are very few hard-and-fast rules under which someone is “always” or “never” liable.
That said, it is true that in most rear-end car accidents, the driver in the back is usually at fault. There are exceptions, though, and it is important to understand that no case comes with an absolute guarantee.
The person who told you that the rear-end driver is always at fault may very well have been a police officer. Law enforcement officials are generally trained to assign fault to the rear driver, almost by default. And in most cases, they’re right. But while official police reports are important pieces of evidence in rear-end collisions, they aren’t always the end of the story. They can be challenged.
To help you better understand the complex issue of rear-end accident liability, this page will explain why the rear driver is usually at fault, but we will also explore several common scenarios in which someone else takes the blame, legally speaking.
In all of this, though, the most important thing for you to know is that if you have been injured in a Florida car crash and someone else’s carelessness caused it, hiring a Tampa Injury Lawyer should be on your to do list. Proving those damages and establishing liability can be a challenge, but the good news is that the challenge doesn’t have to be yours. We can handle it instead.
The Tampa injury lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have spent decades assisting thousands of injured Floridians. We’ve handled countless rear-end accidents, and we have what it takes to work with the powerful insurers on the other side.
If you’ve been hurt in a rear-end car crash in Florida, you need an aggressive law firm on your side. Call our Tampa injury lawyers today.
Exceptions to the Rule: A Look at Rear-End Car Accidents and Who’s at Fault
In most cases, the rear-most driver is in the best position to prevent a collision. Most rear-end car accidents can happen because the driver in the back was behaving negligently. Speeding, distracted driving, and tailgating are the most common causes of rear-end crashes.
Please note, though, that anyone who is negligent may be held liable for the damages that result from their negligence, and that even includes drivers in the front of a chain of collision.
So when would the person who gets rear-ended be assigned fault? Consider the following scenarios:
- You put your car in reverse and then hit the car behind you.
- You decide to make a last-minute turn and slam on your breaks or recklessly swerve into the turn, causing the next car to crash into your rear.
- You are driving with broken taillights and/or turn signals, making it difficult for the drivers behind you to detect a change in course or speed.
- You make a reckless, last-minute merger into another lane, creating inadequate following space / stopping distance for the cars behind you.
These aren’t necessarily the only circumstances in which the rear-ended driver might be at fault, nor is liability automatic in any of these scenarios.
Ultimately, the relevant legal question is always the same: which party’s negligence caused the crash?
In some situations, a court might decide that you are both to blame for the crash, regardless of whether you were in the front or the back. In that case, Florida’s doctrine of comparative negligence will apply, and may allow you to recover a portion of your damages even though you shared in the blame. Comparative negligence is a complicated concept, but our Tampa injury lawyers can help you understand whether it applies in your case.
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At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we do not charge for our services unless we achieve an out-of-court settlement or a victory in court.