Rear-end accidents in Fort Lauderdale are a common occurrence, as they are throughout the rest of Florida.
Our roads are congested. Drivers are rushed, tired, anxious and distracted. Some are trying to avoid red light camera tickets. Others simply aren’t watching the road ahead.
The Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm, know whether it’s a fender-bender or a high-speed crash, rear-end collisions can result in a wide range of serious injuries for those involved.
Some of the most commonly-cited injuries include:
- Whiplash. This is pain and/or stiffness in the shoulder and neck area resulting from sudden and violent movement beyond normal range. The National Safety Council reports 20 percent of all individuals involved in rear-end crashes suffer whiplash.
- Back Injuries. Even at low speeds, the impact of a rear-end collision can result in disk herniation, which is the compression of one’s spine and disks in the lower spinal column.
- Facial and Head Injuries. Often, rear-end crashes occur at speeds of less than 20 mph, which means airbags usually don’t deploy. As a result, many of those in the vehicle struck from behind have their faces and heads smashed into the steering wheel, resulting in broken noses, fractured cheeks, fractured jawbones and even detached retinas and other eye injuries.
- Arm, Hand, Wrist and Finger Injuries. Rear-end crashes can cause these parts of your body to jerk violently or to slam against the dash, steering wheel or windshield.
- Seat Belt Injuries. Typically, these are characterized by lacerations and bruising.
These injuries can range from mild to severe, but almost always require medical care. Our Fort Lauderdale lawyers are committed to fighting for the compensation our clients deserve.Who Is At-Fault in a Rear-End Crash?
Every driver owes a legal duty of care to others on the road to drive safely. That means obeying all traffic laws and ordinances, refraining from reckless driving and maintaining a proper lookout. If a driver breaches this duty, it’s considered negligence. If someone is injured as a result of that breach, the negligent driver (and/or his insurance company, vehicle owner or in some cases employer) is liable to pay damages.
The burden of proof is on the injured person to show the other driver was negligent and that negligence was the proximate cause of the crash and alleged injuries.
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accidents, which means drivers are required to carry their own auto insurance to cover the cost for property damage and injuries in a traffic accident. However, if those damages exceed the amount of the victim’s insurance coverage, he or she can sue the at-fault driver with the assistance of an attorney for additional compensation.
Historically, courts in Florida automatically presumed the second driver in a rear-end collision was at-fault. Generally, the theory is the second vehicle should maintain enough distance to stop or avoid impact, even when the vehicle ahead stops suddenly. However, a 2012 Florida Supreme Court decision made it easier for them to share the blame.
In Cevallos v. Rideout et al., Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the complete fault of a rear driver in a crash. However, the Florida Supreme Court reversed, noting the middle driver in a three-car accident was reportedly on her cell phone and suddenly hit the brakes just before crashing into the vehicle ahead of her. The vehicle behind her was unable to stop in time to avoid impact.
In that ruling, the court declared the presumption of negligence by a rear driver in a rear-end crash can be avoided if that driver can produce evidence to show negligence on the part of the driver in front contributed to the crash resulting in injury.
Even if the rear driver can prove this was a factor, he or she may not evade liability altogether, as there is still the requirement to maintain an assured clear distance. However, proof of front driver negligence could result in a finding of comparative negligence. If the driver in front is found comparatively negligent, his or her damage award will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault, as determined by a judge or jury.
Common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to maintain a reasonable speed
- Failure to maintain appropriate speed
- Failure to follow at a safe distance
- Failure to use turn signals
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Failure to maintain control of the vehicle
If you or a loved one is coping with injuries as a result of a rear-end collision, contacting a car accident attorney as soon as possible can improve your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Contact Fort Lauderdale Lawyer Richard Ansara at The Ansara Law Firm, by calling (954) 761-4011 for a free consultation.