Rear- End Collision
- Miami car accident statistics
- What to do after an accident
- Florida’s Rebuttable Presumption
- Pure Comparative Negligence
- Florida is a No-Fault State
You’ve just been in an accident and your mind is racing. After the initial shock of the accident passes, you start to wonder about your legal options and whether the law is in your favor. Below is an explanation of Florida law and what you need to know when you are involved in a rear-end collision.
Miami Car Accident Statistics:
Whether it’s due to the fast paced lifestyle in Miami or the amount of people that call Miami home, car accidents are commonplace. With over 16 million drivers on the streets, there are bound to be accidents.
The Florida Department of Motor Vehicle reports that in Miami-Dade County, there have been 374,342 traffic accidents in 2015. Of these accidents, a total of 2,939 were fatal.
The report further shows that from the year 2014 to 2015 there was an 8.77% increase in traffic accidents. The three most common causes of accidents are drunk driving, distracted driving, and drowsy driving.
What to do After an Accident:
The first thing you should do after an accident is to immediately stop your vehicle. If your vehicle is obstructing traffic then you should move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road or if possible, move the vehicle completely off the road. You must immediately call the police if the accident involves: (1) death, (2) a hit and run, (3) an intoxicated driver, or (4) property damage of over $500.00.
It is important to document as much information as possible and you can start by exchanging information with the other driver. Additionally, you should talk to any available witnesses and take pictures. Lastly, keep in mind that it is always recommended to consult an attorney, as they are best suited to help you.
Florida’s Rebuttable Presumption:
The law in Florida states that there is a rebuttable presumption of negligence that attaches to the rear driver in a collision. A rebuttable presumption means that, although it is assumed the rear-end driver is at fault, the rear-end driver will have a chance to challenge this presumption and he or she will not be automatically be found guilty.
Some ways that this presumption can be challenged are by: (1) testimony that the front driver suddenly and unexpectedly stopped, (2) that there was a mechanical failure in the front car or (3) that the front driver was breaking a traffic law. If the presumption is successfully challenged the jury will determine negligence.
Left- turn Collision:
Typically, the person making the left hand turn will be presumed negligent. However, just as in a rear-end collision, this is a rebuttable presumption.
The driver making the left hand turn can successfully rebut a presumption by showing: (1) that the car going straight was traveling at an excessive speed, (2) the car going straight went through a red light, or (3) something unexpectedly affected the left turn driver’s otherwise safe left turn.
Pure Comparative Negligence:
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that each person involved in an accident is liable for his or her own negligence. For example, let’s suppose driver 1 (Bob) has rear-ended driver 2 (John).
It is determined that Bob is 90% liable for the accident and that John is 10% liable for the accident. Under a comparative negligence approach, this means that John would only be able to recover 90% of his injuries from Bob.
Florida is a No-Fault State:
The Florida courts have made the state of Florida a “No Fault State”. This does not mean that you will not be at fault if you caused a crash. What it does mean is that each driver will use his or her own insurance no matter who is at fault. Florida has passed legislation that requires each person to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
PIP not only covers you as the driver but it also covers family and individuals in the car. Florida is 1 of 13 states that has made PIP insurance mandatory for each driver. PIP insures each driver $10,000.00 in coverage to be used for things such as medical bills and lost wages regardless of who was at fault for the accident.