Rear-end car accidents are very common in Florida and state law has always assumed that the driver who rear-ended another other vehicle was presumed negligent or blamed for causing the accident.
A recent Florida Supreme Court ruling may change that presumption. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that a third driver involved in a rear-end car accident should have been able to present evidence to a jury to show that they were not fully to blame for the rear-end collision. The court said that the driver had evidence that would have been sufficient for a jury to find that the third driver was not solely responsible for the rear-end collision.
The court's ruling will not change Florida's law on comparative negligence. Under Florida law, juries can award judgments based on the degree each party is at fault. While the ruling will not impact this law, many attorneys say that this ruling may increase the number of personal injury cases after rear-end car accidents.
Based on the court's ruling, lawyers may be able to request jury trials for car accident lawsuits. Since the court found that the third driver was not negligent for the collision, future personal injury claims may try to share the blame between all drivers involved in an accident.
Insurance companies may also use this ruling to not pay 100 percent of an insurance claim after an accident, citing that the other driver is partially to blame and should also be held liable.
It is unknown how much this ruling will impact future car accident claims and lawsuits, but more people involved in car accidents may end up sharing the blame so drivers should be even cautious while driving on Florida roads.
Source: Sun Sentinel, "Florida Supreme Court: Drivers in rear-end crash may not be at fault," Ben Wolford, Nov. 23, 2012