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Does Florida have a law that provides a presumption of negligence for a rear end accident? What is it?


Florida does have a presumption of negligence for a rear-end accident however it is not a state statute that we are aware of but instead Florida case laws that has set this precedent. In all the cases we have read with a presumption of negligence for the driver that rear-ended the vehicle a specific law is not mentioned just that it is a well established principle that in a rear-end type collision Florida law presumes the negligence of the rear driver.

Starting with a case called McNulty v. Cusack, (Fla. 2d DCA 1958); FL law has presumed that the driver of the rear vehicle was negligent in a motor vehicle accident unless that driver provided a substantial and reasonable explanation as to why he was not negligent. It the driver can prove such an explanation than the presumption would vanish and the case could go to the jury on its merits if it is a court case.

Negligence is defined in FL as the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances. And a driver that causes a rear-end accident is usually found negligent under Florida Statute 316.0895(1) which states:

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway.

So under this traffic regulation most drivers are found at-fault for colliding with the car in front of them. If a person rebuts negligence though and shows that reasonable care was taken then they may be able to lift the presumption of negligence. Once the presumption of negligence is rebutted, the presumption vanishes and if the case is in court it is sent to the jury on the basis of all the evidence submitted.

In a rear-end type collision Florida law, based on court cases already tried and with decisions, presumes the negligence of the rear driver. While this is the presumption of the court, insurance companies, etc it does not mean that a driver cannot rebut the presumption. If the driver that rear ended a vehicle can give a reasonable and substantial explanation of why they are not negligent or at fault they may be able to either be found not at fault or have some fault placed on the other driver since Florida is a comparative negligence state.

Comparative negligence means that a driver is allowed damage recovery but it is reduced by a person's own percentage of negligence. Comparative negligence comes into play when it is contended that two or more parties failed to perform at the standard of the "ordinary reasonable person."

For example while a sudden stop alone does not place any fault on the front driver, a sudden stop that occurs because the forward driver failed to exercise reasonable care (i.e. stopped for no apparent reason) could also be the basis for a claim of comparative negligence.

If you want to know more about presumption of negligence in Florida in regards to rear-end accidents try contacting a FL lawyer that is an expert in this type of Florida law, we are insurance agents.

For Florida car insurance quotes from an auto insurance specialist click here.


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1 Responses to "Does Florida have a law that provides a presumption of negligence for a rear end accident? What is it?"
  1. Anonymous

    Just plain ole good info.