Birge v. CharronAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff was a passenger on a motorcycle that flipped over when the driver of the motorcycle collided with the rear of an automobile driven by Defendant. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant on the basis that Plaintiff could not rebut the presumption of negligence that attached to the driver of the motorcycle as the rear driver in a rear-end collision case. The court of appeal reversed, concluding that Plaintiff produced evidence from which a jury could find that Defendant was negligent and at least comparatively at fault in causing the collision. This certified conflict involved the interaction of Florida's comparative negligence system of tort recovery and a rebuttable presumption that has been imposed by courts in rear-end motor vehicle collision cases. The Supreme Court approved of the court of appeal's decision, holding that because tort recovery in Florida is governed by the principles of comparative negligence, the presumption that a rear driver's negligence is the sole cause of a rear-end automobile collision can be rebutted and its legal effect dissipated by the production of evidence from which a jury could conclude that the front driver was negligent in the operation of his or her vehicle.