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Who holds the responsibility for the repairs to A? Does order of claim matter?

Palm Bay, FL |

Three cars (A, B, & C) traveling (i.e., not stopped) in the same direction. C hits B in the rear end, and B hits A in the rear end. The cops were called and police report filed. A has zero liability. The other two vehicles were totaled and both drivers transported. The problem is, Driver C only has $10,000 of insurance. Driver B’s insurance refuses to accept the claim. Driver C was cited with accident. A filed the claim first. C's insurance is offering $500 to cover A's deductible and A files against his own insurance.

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

There is a rebuttable presumtion that the driver of a vehicle that impacts with the rear of another vehicle is at fault. Under the above scenario both B and C could be held liable for A's injuries and damages depending upon the facts. Seeing that the vehicles were travelling and not standing still B has to allow for a safe distance between it and A. If the accident was such that B was following too closely he/she may be liable even if C caused the chain of events.

Disclaimer: This response is based solely upon the limited information provided in your question; additional facts may be necessary and may lead to a different response. The attorney responding to this question is licensed only in Florida and this response is intended for informational purpose only and not intended as legal advice in your particular state. Additionally, the response is not intended to create an attorney client relationship.

Jeffrey Robert Davis

Jeffrey Robert Davis

Posted

I believe the rear-end rebuttable presumption is no longer good law.

Aldo Bolliger

Aldo Bolliger

Posted

No, the law is definitley still good. It's codified.

Asker

Posted

Doesn't the 2012 case http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2012/sc09-2238.pdf affirm that the rear car holds liabilit, BUT is allowed to argue against?

Robert C. Alston

Robert C. Alston

Posted

Very limited holding regarding a directed verdict. But the asker is correct, the Supreme Court found that the rebuttal presumption may be a jury issue.

Aldo Bolliger

Aldo Bolliger

Posted

There seems to be some confusion about the rebuttable presumtion. The presumtion simply operates to shift the burden of proof. In other words, it's presumed that the vehicle that struck the other from behind is responsible. However, that party can rebutt that presumtion by putting forth evidence at which point it becomes a jury question. However, the presumtion is still useful as it obviously switches the burden of proof to the other party to prove their version of the events when ordinarily without the presumtion that dutyfalls upon the claimant. In the given scernario A enjoys a presumtion that B is liable and it looks like C set the chain of events into motion and is liable as well. Mr. Miller is absolutely correct, these are ultimately jury issues and the jury will be charged with apportioning fault and in the jury instructions A can request that an instruction explaining the presumtion of fult be given, which makes his proof that B is also liable a little easier.

Asker

Posted

Yes, I undersand the "rebuttable presumtion." I was agreeing with Bollinger and rebutting Davis, with a question mark. I'm not an attorney, but I understand (actually teach it...) formal logic and my question is, "Doesn't the Supreme Court ruling affirm that the "presumption" still stands, but the lower court was wrong in not allowing evidence? In other words, in the given scenario: B is "presumed liable" for A, but MUST be allowed to provide evidence that he is not liable becasue C caused him to hit A?

Aldo Bolliger

Aldo Bolliger

Posted

Yes, you are correct. That's how I read the S. Ct. case as well. And, it makes sense that you have to allow the party to present evidence or else the presumption would not be rebuttable.

Posted

Liability in a crash involving three moving vehicles is not always simple. "B" may be at fault as well. I would hire counsel and likely a lawsuit will be needed to determine percentages of fault.

Posted

Order of claim does matter in exhaustion of benefits. That is why you should always carry uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage.

Posted

A needs to sue C and B. The jury will apportion liability between C and B and the damages assessed against them will be split proportionally.

This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed. You may call me 772-562-4570; email me vblawyer@bellsouth.net, or visit my website http://www.millerlawoffices.us

Posted

Without knowing additional information, it appears that vehicle C would have the primary liability. There could be extenuating circumstances that could place some liability on vehicle B as well. More information is needed.

An attorney-client relationship is NOT created through the use of this website or by answering this particular post. Each claim is different and must be judged on its own merits. The response herein does not constitute legal advice. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Questions may not include significant and important facts that could significantly change the reply. Mr. Price is licensed in MO only and strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in his or her particular state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

Posted

Have one of the above lawyers investigate.

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