The Causation Presumption in Rear End Automobile Accidents in Florida

Rear end accidents happen frequently in the state of Florida and throughout the United States. In some situations, state law presumes that a rear end auto accident is caused by the rear driver in the accident. This assumption arises due to the idea that the rear driver should leave ample room between his or her car and the car ahead so that there is enough room to stop without causing an accident.

In Sorel v. Koonce, the plaintiff was rear ended by a driver who was operating a Comcast van. The plaintiff was in the car with her husband, who was driving the car, and her child, who was seated in the backseat at the time of the accident. According to the plaintiff, they were about to make a left turn when an oncoming driver ran a red light, prompting them to suddenly hit the brakes. This is when the Comcast van driver rear ended their vehicle. The plaintiff subsequently sued the driver as well as Comcast for her injuries.

The trial court denied plaintiff’s request for a directed verdict. The jury ultimately concluded that the Comcast van driver’s negligence did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff then filed a motion seeking a new trial.

The First District Court reversed and remanded the case, stating that the presumption of negligence against the rear driver had not been overcome through the assertion of the defendant that the plaintiff’s vehicle made a sudden and abrupt stop that could not have been anticipated by the rear driver. Case law highlights a rebuttable presumption in favor of the driver of the front car in rear end accident cases. The presumption is that the rear driver’s actions are the direct cause of the accident and any injuries sustained by the driver in the front car.

In this case, there was evidence that a vehicle traveling in the through lanes in the opposite direction ran a red light, forcing the plaintiff’s husband to suddenly stop their vehicle. The court noted that, when making a left turn, the rear drivers should remain vigilant in terms of what is happening ahead of them. The court cited several examples of when, in intersection accidents, the front driver has to make a sudden and unexpected stop for various reasons, including pedestrians, emergency vehicle equipment, or for other reasons such as red light runners.

If you’ve been in a rear end auto accident or any other type of accident, we can help. Robert Dixon is a highly skilled Miami personal injury attorney who proudly serves clients throughout South Florida. We understand that dealing with an accident is not easy. The physical, emotional, and financial strain can adversely affect you and your entire family. This is precisely why we will fight vigorously for your rights. Our goal is to get our clients the justice and fair compensation they deserve. If your loved one has been hurt due to another person’s negligence or recklessness, contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free case evaluation.

More Blog Posts:

Understanding the Basics of “Catastrophic Injuries” Under Florida Law, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, July 7, 2014

Understanding the Pure Comparative Negligence Law in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, June 23, 2014

Liability in Rental Car Accidents in Florida – Adams v. Bell Partners, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, June 23, 2014


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