The Florida Supreme Court recently overturned fifty years of legal precedent by ruling that a driver who causes a car accident by running into another vehicle from behind can argue, and a jury may consider, that the driver who was struck was also at fault, or comparatively negligent. Essentially this ruling means that careless and distracted drivers, such as those texting while driving, can argue that the vehicle they struck came to an unexpected stop without warning.
The Court felt that the legal doctrine of comparative negligence should apply to rear end car accident personal injury cases when there is evidence, no matter how unsubstantiated, for a jury to consider if the driver of the stopped vehicle was at fault. Thankfully the Court’s decision made clear that it does not overturn the presumption of negligence when a injured person is properly stopped at a red light or stop sign.
In setting aside 60 years of law, in which the person who caused a rear end crash was presumed to be at fault, the Supreme Court opened the flood gates of unnecessary and extensive litigation. This ruling will certainly cause an increase in litigation as insurance companies will argue that their drivers could not stop in time because an injured victim stopped without warning.
As personal injury lawyers helping innocent victims of car accidents throughout Florida, including in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, we are distressed with our highest Court’s decision to allow clearly at fault drivers to argue that those they hit were at fault.