If someone brake-checked you and caused an accident, you may be in a position to show that they were entirely or partially at fault for any harm that was caused by the resulting crash. A driver “brake-checks” another driver when they tap their brakes while driving, causing their brake lights to come on and their car to slow slightly. It’s possible that the driver who brake-checked you might be able to prove that you contributed to the cause of the accident and should be held responsible for a portion of the resulting harm.
In a rear-end collision scenario, the law generally presumes that the following vehicle is responsible for the accident. The following driver is obligated to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, such that if the car in front stops, the car behind has time to stop as well without colliding with the vehicle in front.
If you were tailgating or following the car in front of you closely, you might be held partially liable for the accident, even if the leading driver brake-checked you. Courts generally see tailgating as a greater offense than brake-checking. Tailgating creates an unsafe environment, and brake-checking is typically a response to tailgating, even though this behavior is also dangerous.
Sometimes, however, the following vehicle driver is in a strong position to prove that the brake-checking driver was at fault for the accident in question. If there was a reason why you were closely following the driver who brake-checked you, such as the general flow of traffic, and the driver brake-checked you aggressively, causing an accident, you’re likely going to be in a strong position to sue that driver.
It can be challenging to prove that a brake-checking driver is at fault for accident-related harm. Many drivers who engage in brake-checking deny that they try to aggravate any particular following driver. But a skilled attorney can analyze evidence to show that may be able to definitively show that the driver in front caused your accident. For example, an attorney can organize eyewitnesses of the accident to recount what happened. Police reports can also contain significant evidence illustrating fault, as well as statements made by the drivers following the accident. For example, if the driver who brake-checked you apologized after the accident, this can indicate guilt.
To prove that the driver in front caused the accident by brake checking, you can establish that the individual behaved in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous way.
First, you must demonstrate that the driver owed you a duty of care. Since you shared the road, this duty can be established in a straightforward manner. The driver owed you a duty of care to act reasonably and to mitigate the risk of danger to fellow travelers.
Second, you must show that the driver in front breached their duty of care to you. When the driver engaged in brake-checking, the driver breached their duty of care to you by driving unsafely. A reasonable person would not engage in brake-checking.
Third, you must prove that you sustained an injury as a result of the brake-checking accident. Your medical records and expert medical testimony should support your claim that the accident injured you.
Accidents involving brake-checking often result in determinations that both drivers involved were partially liable for any harm that a particular accident caused. California is a pure comparative negligence state. Under California law, you can recover damages for your accident even if the court finds that you contributed, even a significant contribution, to the cause of it.
Suppose that the court determines that you were partially to blame for the accident. In that case, you can still recover compensation for your injury, including economic damages, which will compensate you for your injury, and non-economic damages, which may include compensation for pain and suffering. The court will reduce the payment that you’re entitled to receive in proportion to the amount of blame that you are assigned for causing the accident. Since the apportionment of fault can be challenging to predict, consult with an attorney to learn more about what kind of compensation you’re likely to receive before committing to filing legal action. An attorney can help you fully understand your options and make informed choices about them accordingly.
Contact an Experienced Orange County Car Accident Attorney
Have you been injured in a rear-end accident due to the negligence of another party? Consult with an expert Orange County personal injury lawyer to protect your legal rights. The car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates aggressively advocate for our client’s rights to fair compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. If you have been in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you may be entitled to compensation.
With multiple offices located in Irvine, Anaheim, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Riverside and San Diego, our personal injury lawyers represent injured car accident victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an expert Orange County car accident attorney, please call 619-202-8172
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