If you are injured in a traffic accident, proving which driver was at fault is the key to the claim process, but determining which driver caused an accident isn’t always easy. If it’s a rear-end collision, the typical presumption is that the driver in the rear vehicle is the at-fault driver, but is that always the case?
And if you are injured in a rear-end collision in Florida, what steps will you have to take to receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages? Can a Miami car accident law firm help?
WHO’S USUALLY DEEMED LIABLE FOR REAR-END COLLISIONS?
In a rear-end crash in Florida, when a motorist rolls or crashes into a legally-parked vehicle or a vehicle that is legally stopped for a stop sign or a red light, the motorist in the vehicle that’s moving will almost always be considered liable for the accident.
Being able to stop a vehicle safely is an essential driving skill. A driver who causes a collision because he or she cannot stop safely is almost always deemed negligent. Nevertheless, the driver in the stopped or parked vehicle may have at least partial responsibility for a rear-end accident.
If a driver in front of you stops suddenly for no apparent reason, there should be enough space between your vehicles so that you can stop safely. But realistically, in heavy and fast-moving traffic, there may be little that you can do if a driver in front of you hits the brakes unexpectedly.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CAUSES OF REAR-END COLLISIONS?
The driver in front may also have partial responsibility for an accident if that driver’s taillights or brake lights are broken, if the driver turns without signaling, or if the driver fails to use blinkers (“hazard lights”) when stopping to inspect a vehicular problem.
Still, if you’re the rear-vehicle driver in a rear-end crash, it can be tough to prove that the driver in front had any liability. If you’ve been injured, let an experienced Miami auto injury attorney provide the legal advice and representation that you’re very much going to need.
WHAT WILL A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER DO ON YOUR BEHALF?
A good injury attorney will review every detail, including the police report, photographs of the vehicle damages and the accident scene, your medical records, and the statements of any eyewitnesses, to discover exactly what happened and which driver should be held accountable.
After determining which driver was liable in a rear-end crash, if you are entitled by law to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and related damages, your attorney will negotiate aggressively – or will fight in court – for every dollar that you need and deserve.
If you’re injured in a rear-end collision by a negligent motorist in Miami or anywhere else in south Florida, do not confess or admit any fault, do not sign any documents provided by an insurance company, and do not accept a first settlement offer before speaking to an attorney.
WHY SHOULD INJURY VICTIMS REJECT A FIRST SETTLEMENT OFFER?
Particularly in a low-speed, rear-end collision, an auto insurance company may offer an injury victim a settlement amount that’s substantially below the real value of the injury claim. Do not settle for an amount that’s below what your claim is genuinely worth.
If you’ve been injured in any traffic accident in south Florida, or if you’re injured in traffic in the future, the wisest first step that you can take after you’ve obtained medical treatment is to seek – immediately – sound legal advice from an experienced Miami personal injury attorney.
Accident researchers recommend headrests as the best protection in rear-end collisions against injuries to the spinal cord, neck, and head. However, if your headrest is set too low, your neck could be strained and hyperextended in a rear-end collision.
WHY IS A PROMPT MEDICAL EXAM IMPERATIVE AFTER ANY ACCIDENT?
Sometimes, the injuries suffered in a rear-end collision are not immediately apparent, so anyone who is involved in a rear-end accident – even if it’s a low-speed accident – must have a medical examination immediately.
Every motorist in Florida needs to understand the state’s “fourteen-day rule.” If you sustain any injuries – even latent injuries – in a traffic accident and you do not obtain a medical exam in the first fourteen days after the crash, your Florida auto insurance company may not reimburse you.
Florida’s fourteen-day requirement will present a genuine barrier to injury victims if they do not seek treatment immediately. After any traffic accident in Florida, whether or not you “feel” healthy or injured – you must be seen by a healthcare provider as quickly as possible.
WHAT OTHER BARRIERS TO COMPENSATION CAN INJURY VICTIMS FACE?
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, and the fourteen-day rule isn’t the only barrier that the injured victims of negligent drivers face in our state.
Florida drivers must carry at least $10,000 of PIP (personal injury protection) coverage and at least $10,000 of PDL (property damage liability) coverage.
If you are injured in a rear-end collision, the first $10,000 of your medical expenses are paid by your own PIP coverage without regard to which motorist was responsible.
The injured victims of negligent drivers may pursue a personal injury claim only if the victim’s injuries are permanent, if permanent and substantial disfigurement or scarring has occurred, or when a victim has sustained the permanent loss of a key bodily function.
WHAT IF NEITHER DRIVER IS LIABLE FOR A REAR-END ACCIDENT?
If neither driver is found liable for a rear-end collision, an injury victim still needs justice. When a vehicle or a vehicle part that was defective was the actual cause of a collision, your lawyer may suggest bringing a product liability claim against the vehicle’s or the part’s manufacturer.
What you’ve read here is a general discussion of rear-end accidents and liability in Florida, but if you are the injury victim – now or in the future – you’ll need to learn more, and you’ll need the personalized, specific legal advice that a good Miami accident lawyer can provide.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, an attorney can help, but you will also have to act on your own behalf. Do not let yourself be bullied or intimidated by an auto insurance company. Make the call to a good personal injury lawyer at once and put the law to work for you.