There are a lot of dangerous driving behaviors out there, and tailgating is one of them. As we have discussed previously on the blog, tailgating occurs when one vehicle follows too closely behind another.
Anyone can engage in this type of driving behavior, but some studies have shown that those who are distracted, more aggressive, and narcissistic tend to be more likely to engage in risky driving actions like tailgating.
But if you have been involved in a car accident involving tailgating, you are probably wondering about your legal options. Can you successfully impose liability for one of these wrecks? Will you be able to recover the compensation that you need?
It depends on the circumstances.
Assessing your tailgating accident
Determining liability in a tailgating accident is very fact-specific. Therefore, you really have to analyze the situation at hand to get a better understanding of how the accident was caused and who is to blame.
If you have ever had someone tailgate you, you know that there is often an urge to brake-check them. Although you might feel like this sends a clear message to the tailgater, it can also put your legal claim in jeopardy, as you may be found to be at fault under those circumstances.
Any fault assigned to you can dramatically reduce your recovery, and it may even result in you being denied compensation altogether. So, when it comes to arguments that you are at fault, be prepared to aggressively counter those claims.
If, on the other hand, you were rear-ended by a tailgater when you hit the brakes to avoid a hazard or slow for the traffic in front of you, you have got a stronger claim for liability and damages. Therefore, much of your case is going to come down to your motivation for slowing down.
What other evidence can you obtain?
Outside of your own testimony, there may be other evidence to support your claim. Other witnesses may be able to attest to a hazard in the road or slowed or stopped traffic at the time of the accident, and you may be able to have an accident reconstruction conducted in order to better gauge just how closely the other vehicle was following you.
Police reports can be helpful, too, as they often have unbiased observations and statements made by police officers, witnesses, and the drivers who were involved in the accident.
What about damages?
Although much of the focus in your case is going to be on proving liability, you cannot overlook the damages portion of your claim. Those who have been involved in a tailgating accident often suffer neck and back injuries that can be long-lasting and have severe consequences, disrupting their everyday life and their ability to work.
So, as you navigate your personal injury claim, be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations and obtain medical and employment records that show the full extent of your economic damages. Be sure that you are able to articulate your noneconomic damages, too, including pain and suffering and mental anguish.
Aggressively pursue the outcome that you deserve
Tailgating is an egregious driving behavior that puts far too many Ohioans at risk. If you have been hurt in one of these accidents, you should not just sit back and accept the hand that has been dealt to you. Instead, consider working closely with an aggressive advocate who can help you gather evidence, develop strong legal arguments, and take the fight to those who harmed you.
Do you want to learn more about what you can do to position your case for success? If so, consider reaching out to a legal professional who you feel confident will give you the advocacy that you deserve.