IfI was involved in car accident but was not ticketed, can I win a court case?

The car in front of me just slammed on its brakes which in turn caused me to skid and hit it from behind. There was a witness at the time and this is why I was not ticketed. Now 3 years later, I have a court hearing by phone. My car sustained more damages than the other car. Can I beat this?

Asked on August 2, 2010 under Accident Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I assume you mean you are being sued in civil court. You *may* be able to prevail--that is, to show that you were not negligent and therefore were not liable--but it will be an uphill battle. The presumption is that the rear car was liable unless special circumstances are shown, such as ice. The notion is that the rear driver should be following at such a distance that even if the front vehicle does break suddenly, the rear one will have time to stop. Not being ticketed is certainly in your favor, but its not dispositive. The amount of damage the two cars take usually has little bearing on fault.

Note that you may be able to show that the other driver was also at fault, so that even if you cannot avoid all liability, you can mitigate or reduce what you'd pay.

If you had liablity insurance at the time, your insurer--the one at that time; not necessarily the one you have now--should defend you and/or settle the case on your behalf.

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