According to the National Safety Council (NSC), rear-end collisions led to 3,600 deaths in one recent year alone, accounting for 17.9 percent of fatalities caused by crashes involving multiple vehicles. When we think of rear-end collisions, we often envision minor fender benders in parking lots or neighborhood roads. However, these accidents can also be quite severe. Consider, for example, a high-speed accident caused when someone traveling down a highway fails to apply their brakes soon enough to avoid crashing into a driver ahead.
No matter the circumstances of your accident, it is essential that you have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney as soon as possible after it occurs. This will ensure that no evidence is lost as time goes by, that no filing deadlines are missed, and that you get started on the right footing down the path toward maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
At Cardoso Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to defending the rights of injury victims throughout Florida. Our skilled car accident lawyer is ready to hear your story and build the most substantial possible claim on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with an experienced rear-end collision attorney.
Common Injuries Sustained in Rear-End Collisions
Like any auto accident, a rear-end collision can injure involved drivers and passengers. They range widely from relatively minor to catastrophic or fatal. Common injuries we see in our practice as personal injury attorneys include:
- Dislocated, fractured, and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs), including full or partial paralysis
- Soft-tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Scars, permanent disfigurement, and loss of limb
- Burn injuries, including “road rash.”
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Wrongful death
How Is Fault Determined in a Florida Rear-End Collision?
To recover compensation in most personal injury cases, injured plaintiffs must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant caused their injuries by behaving negligently (i.e., that they failed to use reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others). For example, this can be achieved in cases involving a rear-end collision by showing that the defendant violated Florida’s tail-gating prohibition. The governing statute provides as follows:
The driver of a motor vehicle shall only follow another car as closely as is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
Of course, what is “reasonable and prudent” will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Factors such as the speed of surrounding traffic, road conditions, and inclement weather may all come into play when evaluating liability under the statute. Other behavior that may contribute to a finding of negligence includes things like:
- Aggressive, distracted, tired, or intoxicated driving
- Failure to slow down at red lights and stop signs
- Suddenly slamming on the brakes without warning
- Unsafe merges and lane changes
- Failure to use signals
- Stopping on the road without using hazard lights
Compensation Available in Florida Rear-End Collision Cases
Before registering a four-wheel vehicle, Florida law requires that drivers in the state purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and property damage liability (PDL) insurance. Specifically, they must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 in PDL.
As the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) explains, PIP covers 80 percent of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 resulting from a covered injury. However, though this coverage applies regardless of who caused the accident, it will not cover “pain and suffering” and other non-economic damages.
In general, accident victims must exhaust their PIP limits before seeking compensation directly from an at-fault driver or through a third-party insurance claim. Once they do, they can file a lawsuit seeking further bonus if they suffered a “serious injury,” which includes those that result in:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; and
If your claim qualifies, you can seek compensation for things like medical bills, repair of your vehicle, and financial losses. You can also seek compensation for your pain and suffering. Though compensation for this last category of damages is unavailable through a simple PIP claim, the value it can add to your third-party liability claim should not be underestimated.
Is There a Deadline to File My Claim Seeking Compensation?
Yes. Every state sets a deadline for filing a personal injury claim seeking compensation from an at-fault party. For example, until recently, injury victims in Florida were given four years after an accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, in March 2023, the state legislature reduced the window to two years.
Though this rule has some limited exceptions, it is essential to remember that the two-year deadline is strictly enforced. Failure to file your case before the deadline passes nearly always results in your case being dismissed by the presiding judge.
There is another important deadline that you should also bear in mind. To receive your PIP benefits discussed above, you must receive your initial medical treatment within 14 days after your accident. Please do so to avoid a denial of your claim.
The best way to avoid the consequences of missing these deadlines is by having an experienced attorney review your case sooner rather than later. Cardoso Law, PLLC, is standing by to ensure no deadlines are missed.
Consult With an Experienced Florida Rear-End Collision Lawyer
If you were injured in a rear-end collision, the Pensacola personal injury lawyers at Cardoso Law, PLLC, is ready to evaluate your case and ensure you know your full legal rights and options. We are dedicated to helping injury victims throughout Florida fight for the total and fair compensation they deserve for injuries sustained at little to no fault. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced rear-end accident attorney.