Rear-end accidents often occur when other drivers tailgate or follow too closely. This behavior is negligent, as it gives the tailgating driver less time to react to obstacles or speed changes. When they’re unable to brake in time, they may collide with the leading vehicle with greater force, causing significant injuries and property damage.
A car accident lawyer may be able to prove that another driver tailgated you in the event of a collision. However, you may be able to receive damages even if a lawyer cannot demonstrate that the other party was following too closely.
How do You Prove a Car Was Following Too Close Before an Accident?
Demonstrating that someone was tailgating you prior to an accident can prove challenging in some situations. However, a car accident lawyer may establish tailgating by:
Looking at Surveillance Footage
Some areas have cameras that record traffic activity. Additionally, dash cam footage, where available, may be helpful. If surveillance footage captured the accident, a lawyer will need to secure this before it is routinely wiped. Generally, CCTV footage is deleted somewhere between 2 weeks and 3 months after the initial recording.
Speaking to Witnesses
Video footage may only be available in a few cases involving rear-end accidents. Lawyers may also question witnesses about the actions of the driver who caused the collision. Witnesses can include:
- Other drivers
- Passengers in your vehicle
Gathering statements from witnesses may establish the other driver’s liability for a collision.
Reviewing the Police Report
Police officers generally file a report after a collision. If they believe a driver was tailgating you, they may include this information in their report or issue a citation to the responsible party. Insurance companies take these reports into account when determining who caused an accident.
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Is Following Another Car Too Closely Illegal?
Many states treat tailgating as a traffic violation. Therefore, police officers may issue a ticket for a driver they believe followed another vehicle too closely. If the driver is issued a ticket, you may use this to support your assertion that the driver followed you at an unsafe distance.
In addition, many states assume the rear driver is at fault in a rear-end collision. Your attorney can interpret the laws and previous precedents to create a strategy for your case.
Do You Need to Prove a Car Was Following Too Close in an Accident?
Tailgating is a dangerous activity that often leads to rear-end collisions. However, you do not need to prove that a car was following too closely in a car accident. In many cases, a lawyer does not necessarily need to establish tailgating, as long as they can demonstrate that the at-fault driver was negligent when they hit you.
Instead, a car accident lawyer must demonstrate negligence on the part of the other driver. Negligence occurs if:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care
- The driver failed to uphold that duty by acting recklessly or irresponsibly
- The driver’s actions led directly to your injuries and accident
While tailgating can represent negligent activity, other factors may also contribute to the accident, like speeding, ignoring traffic signs, or changing lanes without notice.
A car accident attorney can review all the factors that led to your collision while establishing negligence, and may build a claim without having to show that the driver tailgated you.
Why Is Following Too Closely Dangerous When Driving?
Drivers who follow other vehicles too closely are engaging in tailgating, a form of aggressive behavior according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Tailgating is closely associated with speeding, as drivers who are dissatisfied with the current flow of traffic may drive at an unsafe distance from the car in front of them.
Drivers who follow too close have less time to brake or adjust to changing road conditions. Therefore, they often have an increased chance of causing dangerous rear-end accidents.
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What Happens if You Prove a Car Was Following Too Close in an Accident?
If your lawyer shows that another driver caused your accident by tailgating or another negligent action, you may receive damages to cover your losses. These damages may provide funds to cover the:
- Medical expenses associated with your accident
- Costs to repair or replace your vehicle
- Time you spent off work during your recovery
- Pain and suffering you experience after a collision
Speak to Us if Someone Followed You Too Closely and Caused an Accident
You can work with a car accident lawyer to establish liability for your collision. Our team at Morris Bart, LLC can help you build a compelling case, collect evidence, and negotiate for appropriate compensation for your losses.
Call us or complete our online contact form to get started.
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