Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen and Who’s to Blame?
December 23, 2021 | Sagi Shaked
Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of car accidents in the United States. Nearly one-third of the traffic accidents in 2019 involved rear-end crashes. Between 2012 and 2015, nearly one-half of all two-vehicle accidents were rear-end accidents. More than 1,700 people die each year in rear-end collisions.
The most common cause of rear-end collisions is driver negligence. Common reasons for rear-ended car crashes include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Aggressive driving and road rage
For example, a driver could make a mistake while driving, such as hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake, leading to a rear-end crash. In addition, in some cases, inclement weather or mechanical failure could contribute to the cause of a rear-impact traffic accident.
Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by a Miami Rear-End Collision?
Drivers have a duty to maintain safe distances from the vehicles in front of them to allow for sudden stopping. They also have a duty to focus on the road ahead and stop or slow down when necessary.
For example, in congested traffic conditions, vehicles may stop suddenly. Motorists must allow for these sudden stops by maintaining a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front of them.
Even if a driver in front slams on their brakes, it does not excuse the driver in the rear from maintaining a safe driving distance. The rule applies even when the driver stops for no apparent reason.
Therefore, in most cases, the driver in the rear vehicle is charged with causing a rear-end collision. As long as you can prove that the other driver rear-ended your vehicle, there is a rebuttable presumption that the rear driver is at fault for the cause of the auto accident.
However, there could be exceptions where the other driver may also be responsible for causing the car crash.
Florida’s Comparative Fault Law and Rear-End Accidents
Florida’s comparative fault statute reduces an accident victim’s compensation if they share fault for the crash. The reduction is based on the percentage of fault the victim shares for the accident.
The at-fault driver in a rear-end accident may claim that the accident victim contributed to the cause of the crash. The at-fault driver has the burden of proving the allegations to the jury.
Situations in which comparative fault could apply in a rear-end collision case include, but are not limited to:
- The front driver made an illegal stop
- The motorist in the front vehicle was driving recklessly or erratically
- The front driver drove in reverse accidentally
- The motorist in the front car backed out into the other vehicle
The fault for a rear-end car wreck may not always be apparent. If you are involved in a rear-end collision, try to take pictures of the vehicles before they are moved. Also, ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information. Collecting evidence at the accident scene can help you prove you were not at fault for the cause of the crash.
What Types of Damages Can You Receive for a Rear-End Car Accident in Miami?
Many people assume that rear-end crashes are minor “fender benders.” However, a rear-end collision can cause severe injuries.
Neck injuries are common injuries caused when a vehicle rear-ends another vehicle. Injuries involving the cervical spine and neck could result in chronic pain, limited motion, and impairment. Rear-end accidents can also cause brain injuries, broken bones, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and chest injuries.
An accident victim may receive compensation for damages including:
- Past and future cost of medical care and treatment
- Past and future cost of nursing care and personal care
- Loss of income and benefits, including future reductions in earning capacity and future lost wages
- Reduced quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement, disability, and impairments
- Pain and suffering from physical, mental, and emotional distress
As the accident victim, you have the burden of proving the car crash caused your injuries, and you sustained damages because of the crash. Prompt medical attention for injuries and careful documentation of damages are crucial steps to take to improve your chance of winning a personal injury case.
A car accident lawyer can help you take the other steps to recover compensation for your damages, including gathering evidence of fault and building a case proving causation, negligence, and liability.