Being involved in a rear-end accident can be quite unsettling. Unfortunately, there are few things you can do to control the actions of other drivers on Florida roads and highways.
While Florida law states that all drivers must maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of them, many drivers do not adhere to these specifications. In fact, Florida Statutes Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Section 0895 states that “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.”
In fact, violating this section is charged as a noncriminal traffic infraction and can result in a moving violation for the offending driver.
While this is true, and there are penalties for following too closely, rear-end accidents still occur throughout the state of Florida. In fact, they make up around 32% of the accidents on the road. The accidents can cause neck and back injuries and, in some more severe collisions, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder what type of rear-end personal injury settlements you may receive. The best option is to contact our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet; however, you can learn more about these cases here.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents in Florida
Usually, rear-end accidents occur when one vehicle travels at a slower speed or comes to a complete stop. You may even know someone who was hit from behind while stopped at a stop sign or a stop light.
While this is the most common cause of rear-end collisions, it can also occur when vehicles move on highways and roads. You will find several common factors that lead to these accidents.
You have likely had an impatient driver behind you at some point. In these situations, the driver may begin to tailgate you. This occurs if one driver follows the car ahead too closely.
If a driver does not keep a safe distance from the car ahead, it reduces the reaction time they have to changes in speed or stops. Because of this, if the vehicle ahead brakes suddenly, it may be impossible to avoid a rear-end accident.
When a tailgating driver hits your vehicle, discuss your options with a personal injury lawyer with experience handling these cases. They can help you create a case to gather the maximum compensation for your losses.
If a driver engages in some distracted driving, such as talking on the phone, changing radio stations, or texting, they increase the possibility of an accident significantly. The behavior of other drivers on the road, the road conditions, and other factors can change in seconds.
When a driver is distracted, they may not see a vehicle braking ahead of them, which can cause a rear-end collision. Reading or sending a text message while behind the wheel can cause a driver to take their eyes off the road for around five seconds, which is more than enough time to cause an accident.
To some, this is not that long of a time. However, traveling 55 miles per hour means you will drive more than 100 yards without ever looking up or seeing what is ahead of you. If you are involved in an accident at this rate of speed, significant injuries or fatalities will likely occur. This will also impact the value of a rear-end collision claim.
The state of Florida has set speed limits based on road conditions, visibility, and other factors. The goal is to make the roads and highways safer for everyone.
Accidents are more likely if a driver does not adhere to the posted speed limits.
When a driver travels at a high rate of speed, it increases the potential that they will lose control of their vehicle and hit cars around them. A rear-end collision that occurs at high speed may cause catastrophic injuries and significant property damage.
Weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, and rain, create slippery road conditions and increase the possibility of accidents. If you must drive in these conditions, you must reduce your speed to avoid losing control of your vehicle and causing an accident.
Common Injuries Seen in Florida Rear-End Accidents
A rear-end collision can result in serious injuries at both slow and high speeds. Seat Belts can help protect your body during an impact; your shoulders, head, arms, and neck will usually feel the brunt of sudden movements caused by this type of accident.
Sometimes, people walk away from rear-end collisions with no injuries. In other situations, more severe injuries occur. After being involved in an accident, even if you feel fine, you need to get medical treatment.
Some of the more serious injuries you experience may not immediately be apparent. By seeking a full medical evaluation, you have documentation of your injuries and what happened. This will also help your attorney build a case showing the amount of compensation you should receive.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries seen after a rear-end accident. It occurs when your neck and head are jerked back and forth during a collision. Symptoms of whiplash may not appear until several days after the accident.
The effect of whiplash injuries can last for several months or years. In some situations, the injuries can impact daily activities and make it difficult for victims to return to work.
Concussions occur when the brain bumps against your skull and causes bruising of the connective tissues. Similar to whiplash, concussions may have delayed symptoms and cause serious issues if you do not get medical treatment immediately (or soon after the accident).
Concussions that go on undiagnosed can result in more persistent and severe symptoms. They may also last for several months or even years.
Spinal Cord Injuries
An injury to the spine is always serious. Slipped discs, spinal fractures, and other spinal cord injuries can seriously impact daily activities. These injuries can cause chronic pain that may require ongoing physical therapy to fully treat.
How Much Is a Rear-End Settlement in Florida?
You can look at rear-end collision settlement examples and see that there is no average amount. Several factors impact what you can receive after this type of accident.
The value of your settlement is contingent on different factors, and no set or magic number is used for lost wages, medical expenses, or pain and suffering.
Your attorney can conduct a careful analysis of the facts about the accident and may be able to provide you with a range of what you can expect from your claim.
Factors Considered in a Rear-End Collision Injury Settlement
The average settlement for a car accident back and neck injury vary based on several factors. These factors include the following:
Florida is considered a no-fault state, meaning all drivers must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP (personal injury protection).
This coverage handles the cost of your injuries, no matter who is at fault for the accident. PIP insurance coverage was started in Florida to help injured drivers avoid delays in payment for their losses.
PIP insurance coverage handles the payment for things such as:
- Death benefits
- Medication and medical services
- Ambulance services
- Rehabilitation services
- Hospital expenses
There is something to know about PIP coverage. It only covers 80% of your total medical costs, up to $10,000. It does not provide recovery for pain and suffering related to your accident or injury.
If your expenses for the accident exceed the $10,000 in PIP coverage, you must file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This usually requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Florida is also a comparative negligence state. Fault can be assigned to all parties involved based on how much at fault they were. For example, if a distracted driver rear-ended your vehicle while you were stopped at a stoplight, you may think the fault is clear. However, if your rear tail light was out, then you may also be considered partly at fault.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney for Assistance
If you are injured in a rear-end collision in Florida, be sure to contact our car accident lawyers at Zimmet & Zimmet for assistance. We can review the facts of your case and help determine who the at-fault party is while helping establish a value for your case.
Our goal is to help our clients recover the maximum compensation possible for the injuries they sustain. The first step is to contact our office and schedule a free initial consultation. We will be happy to talk to you and answer any questions you have.