Florida Court Explains Liability in Lawsuits Arising out of Rear End Collisions

Rear-end accidents often cause significant trauma. In most instances, they occur because the driver of the second car was driving too fast or while distracted, or otherwise acting negligently. While the person operating the second vehicle is usually responsible for causing rear-end collisions, they may not be solely liable, and the courts may be reluctant to rule in favor of plaintiffs as a matter of law in cases arising out of such accidents. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion issued in a rear-end collision case in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. If you were hurt in a car crash, it is advisable to speak to a Florida car accident lawyer to discuss your potential claims.

The Subject Accident

It is reported that an accident occurred on a highway in Florida when a car driven by the plaintiff was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer operated by the defendant driver and owned by the defendant company. The plaintiff sustained significant injuries in the accident and brought a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging the negligence of the defendant driver caused the crash. Depositions of the parties were taken, after which the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. The defendants filed a response in opposition to the plaintiff’s motion.

Liability for Rear-End Collisions

In Florida, a party moving for summary judgment must offer proof that there is no true dispute as to a material fact and that he or she is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If parties offer such support, their motion will only be denied if the opposing party demonstrates that there is a genuine disagreement over a material fact. In cases in which the parties offer conflicting evidence, the proofs offered by the party responding to the motion will be presumed to be true, and all inferences in that party’s favor that are reasonable will be drawn.

The court stated that while the plaintiff’s argument that Florida law presumes that the second driver in a rear-end crash is negligent was accurate, the presumption is rebuttable. In other words, the Florida courts have held that due to the fact that recovery in car accident cases in Florida is ruled by the principle of comparative negligence, evidence that the first driver in a rear-end crash case drove in a negligent manner may act to rebut the presumption that the second driver was responsible. In the subject case, the court noted that the defendant offered testimony that the plaintiff changed lanes and suddenly slowed down immediately prior to the accident, which suggested that the plaintiff was negligent. As such, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Meet with a Seasoned Florida Car Accident Lawyer

Even if it seems that a car crash was clearly the fault of one driver, a plaintiff seeking damages in a lawsuit arising out of a car accident must nonetheless produce evidence sufficient to establish liability. If you were hurt in a collision, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to assess your options. Jarrett Blakeley is a seasoned Florida car accident who can advise you of your rights and help you to seek the best outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can contact Mr. Blakeley at (800) 602-5000 or via the form online to schedule a consultation.

Contact Information