By Heller & Heller, P.A. posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents on Monday, August 8, 2016.
The most common type of automobile accidents are rear-end collisions, accounting for more than 1.7 million accidents each year in the United States alone. These accidents often occur as a result of distracted driving, carelessness, or inattentiveness. If a driver takes his eyes off of the road even for a second, a sudden stop can potentially catch him off-guard and lead him to careen into the back of the stopped vehicle, causing harm to each driver and damage to the vehicles involved.
Injuries from rear-end collisions can be serious
There are a number of injuries that can be sustained from rear-end collisions, usually to the neck or spine. Soft-tissue injuries such as whiplash or herniated discs can occur. Most people fully recover from these kinds of injuries in just a few weeks, but some people may possibly develop chronic pain in which they need physical therapy to alleviate. If there is a higher velocity of impact, someone can experience more severe injuries like fractures and broken bones.
Who can file and why
In Florida, a person filing a personal injury claim for injuries sustained from a rear-end collision must prove that the injuries they endured are permanent in order for them to receive money for pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment for life, and emotional distress. Oftentimes, injuries like whiplash or herniated discs won’t hold up in court because the source of these injuries can be due to other incidences outside of the accident. The plaintiff also needs to establish who is actually responsible for the accident.
It is mostly assumed that the driver who rear-ended the stopped vehicle is considered at-fault for not following his “duty” to drive responsibly with the safety of other drivers in mind. But this is not always the case. There are many instances when the stopped vehicle is at fault for the rear-end collision, like if the driver has broken brake lights or if they make a sudden stop to turn, but do not execute the turn. Also, there are instances where both parties may be at fault.
If a rear-end collision occurs in the state of Florida where both drivers are at-fault, the outcome results in comparative negligence, which allocates fault between both drivers. In this case, if both parties are involved in the accident, a driver’s liability may be reduced, though not fully eliminated. There are two variations of this type of negligence:
- Pure comparative negligence: According to the percentage of each driver’s fault, the liability is split. If one driver is 20 percent at fault for the accident, and they have $20,000 in damages, then they would only receive $18,000 from the other driver, who was 80 percent at fault.
- Modified comparative negligence: If the plaintiff is more than 50 percent liable for the accident, they will not receive any damages or compensation from the other at-fault driver.
Don’t assume anything. Talk to the right Florida personal injury lawyer.
If you were injured in a rear-end collision in South Florida and find yourself partially at-fault, it is imperative for you to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. In Boca Raton, call Heller & Heller. In a complicated scenario where both parties are at-fault, a lawyer will be able to help you file your claim and explain any difficulties that may arise from filing a personal injury claim. It’s important to know that even if you were at-fault, you may still be entitled to compensation.