The Presumption of Fault in Rear-End Car Accidents in Florida
Hey, it’s Dave. Today we’re talking about the presumption of fault in rear-end car crashes here in Florida.
Florida has a bursting bubble presumption of negligence in rear-end collisions. What that means is the person who rear-ends you is presumed negligent unless they can present some evidence that bursts that presumption. Now the problem with this bursting bubble presumption is if the defendant presents any evidence to burst the bubble, it’s the jury’s job to decide who was at fault. There are three well-established ways defendants can burst the bubble of presumption in a rear-end collision here in Florida. The first is when they present some sort of evidence, that suggests there was a mechanical defect that caused the rear-end collision. The second is, if they present some evidence, that the vehicle they rear-ended was illegally parked in a public roadway. And the third is the one we see the most frequently here in Florida, that’s when they allege there was a sudden and unexpected stop in front of them or sudden and unexpected lane change. If the defendant presents some evidence of a sudden and unexpected lane change or stop, it will be the jury’s job to decide fault between the two parties. The way this normally unfolds is the defendant says “Yeah, they suddenly stopped in front of me” but that’s not enough. The courts in Florida have said that if it’s in an area where you would expect frequent stops or even lane changes, for example, turning into businesses or going through intersections where you could expect “a pedestrian to come out and a vehicles gonna have to stop or even an emergency vehicle may be passing through, it’s not enough to say it was a sudden stop only. Defendants can’t get away with it that easily. They’re gonna have to show that it was sudden and that it was in a place you wouldn’t expect for a vehicle to stop. A good example of that might be driving down Interstate Four here in Polk County. If a vehicle slams on its brakes in the middle of the interstate with for no known reason, and then the defendant slams into the back of ’em, they can say “hey, it was a sudden unexpected stop.” And then it’s the jury’s job to decide whose fault the crash was.
Hey, I hope this helps you understand the bursting bubble presumption of negligence in rear-end collisions here in Florida.
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