Car Accident Attorneys Serving Residents of West Palm Beach
Rear-end collisions are a common type of accident in West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas. They occur when one car strikes the rear of another car. Sometimes these are chain reaction accidents, in which a series of vehicles strike each other. If you are injured in a rear-end collision or chain reaction crash near West Palm Beach, the experienced car accident lawyers at Anidjar & Levine may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for compensation.
Holding a Negligent Motorist Accountable for a Rear-End Collision
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means you may need to make a claim against your own insurance policy first. You can only sue the driver whose fault the rear-end collision was if the damages you suffer exceed your own coverage. In the past, Florida courts presumed that the rear driver in a rear-end collision was negligent. However, nowadays a rear driver can submit evidence showing that the front driver’s conduct was negligent and caused the rear-end collision. For example, if a front driver has not fixed his or her brake lights and comes to a sudden stop on the freeway after going 55 mph, the rear driver may hit the front car, even though he or she is not negligent and had no way to avoid the accident.
Often, accidents are not clear-cut events but arise out of negligence by more than one person. Florida follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. That means the defendant or an insurer may turn around and allege that the plaintiff is to blame for the accident. If the matter cannot be settled through arbitration or mediation, the jury may determine the plaintiff’s damages and assign a percentage of fault to each party alleged to be responsible.
The comparative negligence analysis can become quite complicated in a chain reaction rear-end collision. Suppose that a drunk driver is rear-ended by someone who is texting while driving and, due to his intoxication, fails to hit the brakes in time. He then rear-ends a person who is on a conference call on his phone, and the person on the phone loses control of his vehicle and collides with yet another driver.
If this last driver brings a claim, the other three motorists may each be assigned a percentage of fault. For example if the total damages are $200,000, and the drunk driver is 40% at fault, the texting driver is 30% at fault, and the driver on the phone is 30% at fault, the plaintiff may be able to recover up to $80,000 from the drunk driver and up to $60,000 from each of the other two defendants. In a negligence case, each party found to be liable is responsible only up to his or her percentage of fault, which means that if the drunk driver is uninsured, the plaintiff will not be able to recover the unpaid $80,000 from the other motorists.
Seek Legal Guidance after a Motor Vehicle Collision in West Palm Beach
Sometimes the harm caused by a rear-end collision consists of soft tissue injuries that manifest much later than the accident. At other times, these crashes can cause serious immediate harm, such as broken bones or spinal cord damage. Victims of car accidents in the West Palm Beach area can consult the injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine for advice on their rights and options. Call us at 800-747-3733 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We represent clients in areas throughout Palm Beach County, such as Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, and Royal Palm Beach.