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Liability in Brake Checking Car Accidents

Tailgating (driving closely behind another vehicle) is dangerous and can result in an accident in the event of an emergency. For instance, when the driver in front of you hits the brake unexpectedly, you’re likely to ram into their car. In such a case, you’ll be held liable for the accident.

The driver of the in the front car will not care whether you hit them because after all, you’ll be at fault. However, not all rear-ended collisions are caused by tailgating–some are caused by failed brakes. Our experienced Alaska car accident attorney can help you if you’re involved in a failed brakes car crash.

Brake Checking

Brake checking refers to the act of hitting the brakes unexpectedly to force the rear driver to keep a safe distance, slow down, or back off–brake checking is also referred to as brake testing. Most rear drivers are caught off guard during brake testing. While tailgating is understandably annoying, you must avoid brake checking. You can change lanes or avoid tailgating cars differently.

Liability in Brake Check Crashes

Brake check-related crashes are also known as rear-end crashes. Rear drivers are typically at-fault for rear-end crashes because they’re legally obliged to keep a safe distance to avoid hitting the car in front of them.

Brake check crashes are treated differently from other rear-end crashes because the action (break checking) of the lead car worsens an already dangerous situation. Both drivers bear partial responsibility in break-checking accidents, unlike ordinary rear-ended crashes.

Proving the negligence (braking intentionally) of the lead driver. However, witness statements and dash cameras can be used as evidence. The challenge comes when proving that the defendant braked without a valid reason but if you manage to prove that, the defendant will be considered to have committed insurance fraud. The factors to consider before filing a brake check crash claim are:

  • Whether break checking was intentional;
  • Whether the brake check exposed the rear driver to danger;
  • Whether the act of break checking induced fear in the rear driver.

Responding to a Brake Check Crash

It’s important to understand how to react to a brake check crash to protect your claim. You can challenge and protect your claim if the court declares that you’re partially at fault. The following guidelines (rules) can help to limit or avoid liability when responding to a brake check crash:

1. Never admit fault after the accident (at the accident scene or when engaging an insurance company.

2. Never apologize to the other driver–it may be construed as accepting responsibility for the accident.

3. Notify the police by calling 9-1-1–some states require the police to visit the scene of the crash.

4. Inform the police if you believe that the brake check was necessary.

5. Report any acts of anger from the other driver–it could fortify your case or evidence once the case goes to court.

6. Record eyewitness accounts, and take pictures of the damage caused to both vehicles. Enquire if anyone might have captured the events that led to the crash.

7. Seek medical attention immediately because brake check crashes can cause soft-tissue injuries, such as whiplash, head, and brain injuries. The severity of injuries will depend on the speed you were driving and the resulting impact.

8. Gather as much evidence from the crash scene as much as you can. You also take witness statements and request their presence during a court trial. Remember to take their details, such as names, contacts, addresses, and email.

9. Contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accidents. You can schedule an initial consultation after identifying a prospective attorney.

Legal Consultation

An initial legal consultation will help you decide whether the qualities of the lawyer match what you expect from a legal professional. Most lawyers offer free legal counsel during initial consultations so you need not worry about payment.

Your lawyer will proceed to evaluate your case, advise you on the available legal options, and recommend the best legal option for your situation. The attorney will file legal action to initiate the legal process of resolving the case.

Alaska is a comparative negligence state which allows drivers to recover damages even if they’re partially responsible although their degree of fault should be less than 50 percent. The recoverable damages are reduced proportionately to the percentage of responsibility. For instance, if the recoverable award in a break check case is $50,000, and your fault is 20%, you will recover $40,000 ($50,000 less $10,000–your fault). However, you’ll not be compensated if your fault exceeds 50%.

Proving the negligence of the other driver is the hardest part in brake checking car accidents but with a reliable legal team, you can defend your claim successfully and recover damages.

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