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What is the Law on Rear End Accidents?

Florida law has what is referred to a “rebuttable presumption” of negligence on the rear driver when there is a rear end collision. Although the presumption is that the rear driver is negligent, there are specific exceptions to this rule, and the presumption can therefore be rebutted, or disproved.

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Exceptions to the Presumption of Negligence Against the Rear Driver?

There are several exceptions that rebut the presumption of negligence against the rear driver. Affirmative evidence of mechanical failure in the rear vehicle rebuts the presumption. Evidence that the front car came to a sudden and unexpected stop, or engaged in a sudden and unexpected lane change also rebuts the presumption of negligence against the rear driver. Evidence that the other vehicle was illegally stopped on the roadway also rebuts the presumptions.

The exceptions are very narrow, and strictly construed by the courts. By way of example, just a sudden stop by the lead driver is not enough to rebut the presumption; it must be both sudden and unexpected. Courts have found a random stop on the highway to be unexpected, but a sudden stop at an intersection due to another vehicle running a red light is not unexpected. If the presumption of negligence is successfully rebutted, the jury or the judge will then decide comparative fault, just like in other Florida accident cases.  Our Orlando Lawyers are always here to help.

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