Extensive property damage, sore necks, and a complicated claims process – this is usually what rear-end car accidents are made of. Although Florida is a no-fault state, rear-end accident victims who have suffered extensive damage beyond normal policy limits and coverage can and should seek legal representation to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.
Presumption of Negligence in Rear-End Collisions
With rear-end collisions, the presumption is that the driver in the back was the negligent party. However, this presumption is rebuttable. In other words, there is an exception to this rule. Sometimes the trailing driver is not at fault for a rear-end collision.
Consider the following examples:
- In Eppler v. Tarmac America, the Florida Supreme Court held that there was compelling enough evidence to rebut the presumption of the rear driver’s negligence.
- In Worley v. State Farm, Mrs. Worley sued in federal district court because her insurance company, State Farm, found her partially liable. Worley claimed that, although she was the rear driver, it was the driver in front of her who was at fault for the collision.
Rear-End Accidents and Preexisting Injuries
In some cases, drivers will attempt to call into question the validity of victims’ injury claims. Some drivers do this in an attempt to get out of a large personal injury payout. For example, in a relatively recent Florida car accident case, Hernandez v. Gonzalez, argued in the Fourth District Court of Appeals, Gonzalez claimed that, although she was responsible for causing the rear-end collision, the plaintiffs were lying about the extent of their injuries. Gonzalez argued that the injuries allegedly caused by the car accident were actually preexisting injuries.
If you have preexisting injuries and were injured in a car accident, the other driver may attempt to use this against you.
Whiplash and Rear-End Accidents
Without a doubt, the most common injury resulting from rear-end accidents is whiplash. This type of injury happens when the neck is hyper-extended. When a car comes to a sudden stop or is hit from behind, passengers’ heads can fly forward, stretching the ligaments and muscles of the neck beyond their normal range of motion.
What you need to know about whiplash:
- It is a legitimate injury
- It usually heals on its own and is treated with painkillers
- It is common for whiplash victims to not feel any pain until 1-2 days after the accident
- Recovery time varies drastically depending on the extent of the injury, but usually ranges from a few days to a few weeks
If you were injured in a car accident, whether you sustained whiplash or more severe injuries, we invite you to discuss your case with our rear-end accident attorneys in Tampa. We would be happy to review your case so you can learn more about your legal rights. Call (813) 606-5050.