Personal Injury claims that arise from rear-end auto accidents in Florida fall under a theory of negligence. In order to prove negligence, a claimant, the person bringing the lawsuit, must prove all four elements needed to show that a person was in fact negligent. One of the elements that must be shown in order to prove that a person was negligent is that the accused had a Duty of Care that was owed to the claimant. Duty, in general, can be defined as exercising reasonable care to avoid an unreasonable foreseeable risk.
Florida drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road. The duty which is owed is a ‘Reasonable’ Duty of Care. This plainly means that it is expected of drivers to take all reasonable steps to drive like another reasonable driver would, and would expect them to. This duty is certainly not exclusive to drivers that are driving in front of us, but includes all drivers as well as those who are to the rear of us. The general rule of thumb is that the duty of care is owed to every person who may be in a ‘foreseeable zone of danger’, including but not limited to:
- Other Drivers
- Passengers in same vehicle
- Passengers in another vehicle
- Pedestrians / bicyclists
- Construction workers
STANDARD OF CARE FOR FLORIDA DRIVERS
It is certainly true that circumstances vary case to case and with every type of personal injury claim, and because of this, the level of care that is owed to another varies as well. Doctors, Lawyers and other professionals no doubt owe a greater duty to their clients than other people who may face a claim of personal injury due to negligence. Drivers who have been involved in rear-end collisions are held to a standard of care as a reasonable prudent driver.
When considering liability of an auto accident, essentially, the parties’ actions are looked at from an objective viewpoint. A question that is commonly asked is, “What would a reasonable prudent driver have done, or expected, in the same scenario given similar circumstances?” When evaluating a rear-end collision, answering this question is often times what helps to determine liability of the accident.
If a driver is tailgating another driver for a few miles and it has recently been raining, it could be said, through an objective view, that the driver was not acting like a reasonable prudent driver would in similar circumstances. One could easily determine that after a rain, the ground is much more slippery, and that tailgating someone at all can be dangerous. This simple example can be used to help determine if a driver is operating their vehicle using the appropriate standard of care.
The Duty of Care element in negligence claims can be complex to understand. With so many questions needing to be answered, it can become extremely stressful without experienced legal advice. If you have questions concerning a rear-end auto accident, or issues understanding duty of care in Florida, contact Madalon Law today for a free consultation.