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Florida Court Explains Fault in Rear-End Crashes

When a rear-end collision happens, the second driver is often deemed liable for any harm suffered by the first driver. However, simply because a rear-end crash occurs does not mean the first driver is void of fault as a matter of law. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling in a case arising out of a rear-end crash in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, noting that there was a factual dispute as to whether the plaintiff was comparatively negligent. If you were hurt in a crash caused by another driver, it is prudent to speak to an assertive Florida car accident attorney to assess your possible claims.

The Accident

It is alleged that a multi-car collision occurred on a Florida highway. During the accident, the plaintiff’s vehicle was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer driven by the defendant. The plaintiff sustained significant injuries in the accident, which required surgical repair. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver and his employer, alleging their negligence proximately caused his harm. At the close of discovery, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. The court ultimately denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Fault in Rear-End Collisions

The court explained that summary judgment is only appropriate in cases in which it is clear that no true dispute over any material issue exists, and therefore the moving party has the right to judgment in its favor as a matter of law. The party seeking summary judgment is tasked with proving that there are no disputed issues of material fact. If the moving party meets this burden, any party opposing the motion must then set forth evidence sufficient to demonstrate the presence of a factual dispute that must be resolved via trial.

In the subject case, the plaintiff argued he was entitled to summary judgment because there was no evidence that his behavior contributed in any way to the accident. The plaintiff relied solely on his own testimony in support of the motion. The court explained that while it is true that drivers that strike other motorists in the rear are presumed to be negligent, the presumption is rebuttable.

Specifically, the Florida courts have ruled that the production of evidence that would allow a jury to conclude a front driver was negligent can result in a rebuttal of the assumption and dissipation of its legal effect. In the subject case, the court agreed with the defendant that sufficient evidence existed from which a jury could infer negligence on behalf of the plaintiff. Thus, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Meet with an Experienced Florida Attorney to Discuss Your Accident

Rear-end collisions can cause painful and lasting injuries, and in most cases, the second driver is deemed responsible for any harm suffered in the crash. If you were injured in an auto accident, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your rights. Attorney Ryan M. Cardoso has ample experience helping people hurt by the negligence of others in the pursuit of damages. If you hire him, he will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Mr. Cardoso via the form online or at (850) 466-2073 to set up a conference.

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