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Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

Who is liable for a rear-ender in Florida?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Rear-end collisions in Florida are common and quite dangerous. Getting involved in one can lead to serious injuries to your neck, spinal cord, brain, and even death, as well as property damage. Determining blame can be difficult because everyone assumes that the rear driver should have been more careful. Read on to learn about liability and laws dictating rear-end collisions in Florida.

Rear-end collisions in Florida

As you would expect, the driver behind is usually to blame for rear-end collisions because the law dictates that motorists must maintain a safe distance that can enable them to react in time when something unexpected happens. The reaction time varies among people depending on age, experience, and other factors, but it averagely ranges between o.2 seconds to 2 seconds. Therefore, the state law orders that you maintain a distance that can give you at least 3 seconds to respond.

To determine this distance, pick a point of reference ahead of the car in front of you. When it passes it, count to three seconds before you also pass the same point. There is no absolute number of feet to determine this distance because of varying speeds on the road.

Exceptions to this rule

First of all, Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state. This means, when you get into an accident, your insurance company will pay medical bills for your personal injury and damage to your car. For you to step out of the no-fault system to proceed with a lawsuit against the other driver who’s at fault, your injuries or property damages must pass the threshold set by Florida law. This includes permanent or significant impairment, loss of body function, or death.

In that case, the judge will look at how the front driver’s contribution to the accident. For instance, were they engaging in a road-rage type of driving, exhibiting reckless conduct, or suddenly braking. Also, if the front driver has faulty brake lights that didn’t signal you of their braking, they can be partially liable.

In Florida, the court can assign fault to all parties involved in the accident. Therefore, if you get into an accident, gather evidence that can help your case.


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