Who Is Liable After A Multi-Car Crash In Florida?
Tampa is notorious for congested traffic, and sadly, with congestion comes a higher number of traffic accidents. In extreme examples, accidents can occur that involve multiple vehicles, most often in chain reaction situations where a failure to stop leads to a series of rear-end crashes. If this has happened to you, know that while it can be difficult to apportion liability when many different people may be at fault, but it is still very possible to recover for any injuries you sustain.
Hard To Determine Liability
Tampa is unfortunately highly suited to experience multi-vehicle accidents, given the high number of freeways and high-speed roads that run through the city such as Dale Mabry Highway or I-4. While the most commonly seen type of multi-car accident is the chain reaction, other types can happen depending on factors like weather or the type of road surface – for example, pileups, or intersection accidents where two vehicles crash and then veer into oncoming traffic.
While Florida law allows a partially liable plaintiff to still recover some compensation, it can seem impossible to reconstruct the accident well enough to determine who might be liable to begin with. In a standard two-vehicle crash, it is much easier to determine which driver might have been at fault, or if both played a role, or if some outside factor was a more direct cause. With a multi-vehicle crash, these questions are, obviously, multiplied, plus the increased difficulty of physically reconstructing the accident can be quite difficult.
Can I File Suit At All?
If it is possible to determine whose vehicle started the chain reaction or the pileup, it can provide a place to start. There is a rebuttable presumption in Florida law that the first person to rear-end another car is at fault for the accident, because it is “unlawful” for a vehicle to follow too closely – the inference is that if the vehicle was not following so closely, the accident could theoretically have been avoided. It is possible, as one might gather, to rebut the presumption, but in order to do it, a driver must be able to demonstrate with concrete evidence that the presumption is misplaced.
Keep in mind that it is only going to be possible to file suit against the driver or drivers who played a role in your injuries if those injuries are quite severe. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that in an auto accident situation, all but the most serious claims are filed with one’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurer (or filed against the other driver’s insurer). You may file suit against an allegedly negligent driver if you have suffered a “significant and permanent” injury, such as the loss of a limb or important bodily function, but only then.
Call A Tampa Auto Accident Attorney
Multi-vehicle accidents can be devastating, and if you have experienced one, your medical bills may be very high. The dedicated Tampa car accident lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group are well versed in this area of law, and will work hard to try and help you with your case. Contact our offices today for a free consultation.