Rear-End Collision Attorneys in Gainesville
One day you’re driving down Newberry Road listening to some good tunes while on your way home from work. You’re thinking about what you’ll be making for dinner and make a mental note about those cabin reservations for your family’s annual mountain trip you need to make.
Just as you pull up to the last major intersection before you reach your house, wham! — a large truck going about 40 mph hits your family sedan in the back. Fortunately, you had your seatbelt on so you were not thrown through your windshield, but the impact did cause your head to be flung violently forward then back again, and the air bag deployment caused burns and bruises on your arms.
This type scenario is all too common across the United States. Each year, more than 2.5 million rear-end collisions like this occur, according to the National Safety Council.
Common injuries caused by rear-end collisions
Although most people consider rear-end collisions to be minor, they can in fact cause long-term injury. The degree of injury increases with the speed and size of the following vehicle. If it’s a bigger truck and it’s going faster, the chances of a more serious injury increase dramatically.
A few of the more common injuries caused by rear-end collisions include:
- Whiplash: Alluded to in the intro, this injury occurs when the neck, shoulders and spine violently move outside of their normal range of motion. According to the National Safety Council, half of those who experience a whiplash injury feel pain for more than a year following the accident.
- Face And Head: If your airbags do not deploy, your face can be thrown into the steering wheel, which can break your nose, fracture your jaw and more. If the airbags do deploy (which happens during accidents when travelling faster than 20 mph), you can suffer burns to your face and scalp.
- Back Injuries: When an impact occurs, the force of the collision can cause your spine and disks in your lower back to compress.
- Bruises And Lacerations: Cuts and bruises are another common injury in rear-end collisions, and can be caused by a variety of things ranging from broken glass to the pressure of your seatbelt against your skin.
Injuries caused by a rear-end collision range from minor scrapes that heal within a few days to major paralysis or disfigurement. If you were hit by a vehicle following you, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.
Proving fault and obtaining compensation for your rear-end collision
Like most states, Florida law generally assigns blame for rear-end collisions exclusively to the following driver. It is assumed that this driver should allow enough space to be able to stop in the event they need to. Section 1 of Florida Statutes 316.0895 clearly 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.”
If the rear vehicle is a large truck or semi-rig, the law requires them to allow at least 300 feet between them and the vehicle in front of them.
Often times, this section is all that you need to prove the following driver’s fault. However, the Florida Supreme Court has issued some exceptions to this rule that include:
- Changing lanes suddenly
- Unexpectedly stopping
- Brake light failure
Florida is also a comparative negligence state, meaning that both the plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit may have a claim. For example, if you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident, your claim will be reduced. This rule does not apply to drivers who are driving under the influence and found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident.
Recover Damages From a Rear-End Collision
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, your first step should be to make sure you, your passengers and anyone else involved in the wreck are OK. If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene and obtain contact information from any witnesses. Police and medical records will also be needed to prove the accident caused your injuries.
Proving causation is vital for pursuing a claim for injuries and damages.
The attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts and their support staff possess extensive experience helping those affected by a rear-end collision obtain compensation and justice. Our team can skillfully evaluate any photographs, video, witness statements, police and medical records to establish that the rear-end collision did cause your injuries and the other driver is at-fault.
If you or a loved one has been in a rear-end collision, it’s important you speak with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. We invite you to call our Gainesville office or click the contact button at the top of the page to schedule a free consultation today.