Are Rear End Vehicles always at Fault?

If you involved in a rear-end traffic crash in South Florida, you may ask, “is the rear vehicle behind you automatically at fault?”  The answer is “Probably, but not always!”

Rear End Accident
Rear End Accident

In South Florida, there is a rebuttable presumption that the negligence of the rear driver in a rear-end traffic crash was the sole cause of the accident.  Still, this presumption may be rebutted when evidence, which fairly and reasonably shows that the rear-end collision was not result of the rear driver’s negligence.  Courts have recognized three specific situations which may rebut this presumption:

  • Affirmative testimony regarding a mechanical failure;
  • Affirmative testimony of a sudden and unexpected stop or unexpected lane change by the car in front; and
  • When a vehicle has been illegally and, therefore, unexpectedly stopped.

These situations create a rebuttable presumption that shifts the burden to the rear driver in a rear-end collision to come forward with evidence that “fairly and reasonably tends to show” that the presumption of negligence of the rear driver is inappropriate.  If the rear-driver presents evidence at trial that fairly and reasonably rebuts the presumption of negligence, the issue of negligence must then be presented to the jury for determination without the aid of the presumption.

Because of these complex situations, it is important that you retain a Stuart or Port St. Lucie accident attorney immediately after being involved in a rear-end crash.  The days after a rear-end traffic accident are crucial to investigate whether the at-fault driver will be raising one of the three above situations that may rebut their presumed negligence.

Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys Villafranco & Garcia, PLLC., have been representing those injured in Florida car crashes, motorcycle accidents, and other personal injury matters for years.  His Stuart and Port St. Lucie locations are centrally located for your convenience.  Call now to schedule a free case evaluation with Martin and St. Lucie County Personal Injury Attorneys Villafranco & Garcia, PLLC.

Main Office:
Villafranco & Garcia, PLLC.
10850 South Federal Highway
Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952
(772)871-6441