A Bradenton Accident Lawyer Explains Rear-End Collisions And Fault
Bradenton's busiest roads like Manatee Avenue, and 14th Street have had more than their fair share of rear-end collisions. Rear-end crashes make up a large percentage of car accidents, can range from mere fender benders to catastrophic events leading to grievous injuries or even loss of life. As a local auto accident attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh in Bradenton, I've seen firsthand how fault in rear-end collisions becomes central to legal deliberations - and how comparative negligence sometimes muddies the waters of who is at fault.
Rear-end collisions are unfortunately all too commonplace in Manatee County. Data indicates that they make up a large portion of all vehicular accidents, often leading to severe injuries. Some of these incidents might be classified as "minor," resulting in only property damage, but others can have life-altering repercussions, causing enduring injuries or persistent pain.
If you are considering making a legal claim after being rear-ended, understanding how fault is assigned in a rear-end crash is paramount to a successful outcome.
Whether you were in the leading or trailing vehicle, if you sustained injuries and believe you were not at fault, you might be entitled to compensation. However, thanks to comparative negligence, the concept of "fault" in Florida, especially in the context of rear-end collisions, is nuanced and multifaceted.
Who Typically Bears the Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Bradenton?
In Florida, the trailing driver in a rear-end collision is generally presumed to be at fault. This presumption stems from the legal expectation that every motorist should maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and be alert to the evolving dynamics of the road. If a collision occurs from the rear, it often implies that the following driver might have been too close or perhaps not adequately attentive. Yet, this presumption isn't set in stone.
While the rear driver is often deemed at fault in many scenarios, there are exceptions:
• A sudden deceleration due to unexpected traffic changes.
• Overlooking a vehicle's turn signal, leading to a collision during deceleration.
• Misjudging a transitioning traffic light, assuming the leading vehicle would accelerate.
Challenging the Presumption of Fault
It's crucial to understand that while the rear driver is often deemed at fault, there are exceptions. For instance, if a leading vehicle abruptly changes lanes and brakes or has malfunctioning brake lights, even a diligent trailing driver might be unable to prevent a collision. The onus typically falls on the rear driver to demonstrate their lack of fault or a lesser degree of culpability.
Bradenton's Legal Landscape and Rear-End Collisions
A landmark case from Florida's appellate courts underscored that the general presumption of fault in rear-end collisions doesn't override Florida's comparative negligence principle. This principle mandates a thorough evaluation of the fault of all involved parties, assigning a percentage based on the evidence.
For instance, if a rear driver was excessively speeding and collided with a vehicle with a malfunctioning brake light, fault might be apportioned. The rear driver could bear 85% of the blame, and the leading driver 15%. In a claim for $100,000 in damages, this could translate to a potential compensation of up to $85,000 from the rear driver's insurance.
Bradenton's No-Fault and PIP Coverage
Florida's "no-fault" system implies that individuals first turn to their own insurance for compensation through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP typically covers a portion of medical expenses and lost wages. If a rear driver's actions were clearly negligent, PIP might be the primary avenue for compensation.
When Might the Leading Vehicle Be At Fault?
There are situations where the leading vehicle might share or even bear the primary fault. For instance, if a car suddenly merges without signaling or has malfunctioning brake lights, the dynamics of fault can shift. Florida's principle of comparative negligence ensures that fault is assessed based on each party's contribution to the accident. This means even if you're partially at fault, you might still be eligible for compensation, albeit reduced by your percentage of fault.
At Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh, our attorneys have lived and worked in the Bradenton community for more than 3 decades. Our partners, with years of hands-on experience in and around Manatee County, personally oversee every case, ensuring our clients benefit from our vast reservoir of knowledge. With a track record of successfully resolving countless accident injury cases, our commitment transcends mere legal representation. We believe in fostering genuine relationships, treating every client as family, and ensuring open communication throughout the legal journey.
Should you find yourself in a rear-end collision in Bradenton or have questions about who is at fault for your accident our team at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh stands ready to assist. With a combined experience of over 150 years and a reputation for recovering for our clients, we're available to guide you every step of the way.
Attorney Bernie Walsh has been helping injured clients in Manatee County for over 40 years. Attorney Danny Murphy was born and raised in Manatee County and is an expert in all aspects of representing injured people in vehicle accidents on Manatee County roads. Call today at (941) 752-7000 for your 100% free attorney consultation.