I Rear-ended the Other Car - Can I Sue That Driver?
At Wolfson & Leon, our Miami car accident lawyers answer this question on a regular basis. The short answer is yes you can sue the driver that you rear-ended, but to determine if you will be successful requires a professional investigation and analysis of the facts of your rearend car accident.
At trial, during jury selection, our Miami accident injury attorneys tell potential jurors that in Florida anybody can see anybody so long as they can pay the filing fee. We explain that the filing of a Complaint is really just a series of allegations. The plaintiff has the burden of proof to prove each of the allegations.
Now these allegations, unless admitted, will need to be proved by a preponderance of the evidence at trial. An easily understandable analogy is a traffic ticket. The police officer, by giving you the ticket, is alleged that you violated the law. Unless you admit it, it will be up to the state to prove the allegations that resulted in the receiving a traffic ticket. That’s the same thing as the filing of a Complaint.
So, the simple answer is that yes, you can file a lawsuit against the person that you rear-ended in a car accident. But the bigger question is will you be successful suing the driver that you rear-ended? The answer to that question depends on the facts of your accident.Legal Presumption of Negligence on Rear Vehicle in Rearend Collision
Under Florida law, there is a legal presumption that the driver who strikes the rear end of another vehicle is presumed to be at fault. However, that presumption can be rebutted. The most common grounds for the rebuttal of the legal presumption of negligence in rearend collisions are:
- Sudden stop – this means that the vehicle in front of you suddenly stopped unexpectedly
- Sudden lane change – this happens when a vehicle suddenly changes lanes in front of you without warning and in an unsafe manner. The
Depending on the facts of your accident it is entirely possible that the vehicle you rear-ended could be completely or partially at fault. You should understand that your recovery of damages will be limited to the percentage of fault that you bear for the accident under the concept of comparative negligence.Comparative Negligence in Florida
In Florida, the legal concept of comparative negligence applies. The way that our Miami car accident lawyers explain this to both clients and juries is that like many things in life are not black-and-white but rather shades of gray.
At the time of the trial, a jury will be presented with the evidence. After closing argument, the jury will deliberate the verdict. When the jury decides the issues of negligence and comparative negligence they are instructed by the judge to sign the percentage of fault to each party that the jury feels that party is responsible for so long as the total comes to 100%. If the jury believes that one party or the other has no responsibility, then they can assign 100% of the blame on the responsible party. If the jury decides that the responsibility for the accident is shared, then they can assign the percentage of responsibility for the plaintiff and the defendant or defendants.
After the verdict is rendered and read aloud in the courtroom, the judge will reduce the damages by the percentage of fault that the jury assigned to the plaintiff. As an example, if a jury makes an award of $100,000 and finds the plaintiff to be 25% at fault then the judge would reduce the damages by 25% and enter a final judgment in favor of the plaintiff for $75,000.Miami Injury Lawyer and Rear-end Accident Victims
If you are involved in any type of rear end collision, even if you rear-ended another vehicle, we invite you to meet with our Miami accident attorneys for free consultation. We can go over the facts of your case and provide you with our analysis of what your options might be. Rest assured, if you do not have a case we will let you know. There is no reason to build false hope or waste your time. On the other hand, if the entire accident was not your fault then we may be able to help you make a financial recovery for your injury and damages. Find out more just call us at (305) 285-1115 for your free and confidential consultation. You are also welcome to come to our Miami personal injury office or by appointment at our Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach offices.
Our Miami personal injury lawyers serve good people of Miami and throughout South Florida including, but not limited to, Homestead, Doral, West Palm Beach, Hialeah, Boca Raton, Kendall, Hollywood, Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, North Miami Beach, Miramar, Miami Gardens, North Miami, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, South Miami, Miami Beach, Wilton Manors, Midtown Miami, Overtown, Miami Shores, Liberty City and Miami-Dade County.