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Home » Tailgating Car Accident Attorney

Tailgating Car Accident Attorney

Victims of tailgating accidents sometimes face substantial physical and psychological consequences. As a result, they are left with financial struggles and rely on California’s at-fault auto accident system to recover their losses. If you suffered an injury caused by a tailgating driver, you might benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney about the details of your case.

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What Is Tailgating, and Why Is It Dangerous?

Tailgating is the act of intentionally following a driver too closely. It significantly increases the chances of a collision should the driver in the front need to stop. In California, tailgating is illegal and can result in a fine of over $200, even if the offender did not cause an accident. However, if a collision occurs, the tailgating driver is liable for all damages relating to the accident and the victim’s injuries.

As the injured party, you are responsible for proving the other driver’s negligence, including your claim of tailgating. First, consider some common factors contributing to tailgating, primarily focusing on the other driver’s actions.

Factors Contributing to Tailgating Accidents

Tailgating is often the result of behavioral factors leading up to the accident. Some common contributing elements of human error include the following:

  • Overestimated driving skills. Drivers with a false sense of security in their own skills may follow too closely, thinking they have ample time to stop if necessary.
  • Aggressive driving. Road rage and tailgating often go hand-in-hand. An aggressive driver is sometimes reckless on the road, often speeding, following too closely and taking other risks due to a lack of impulse control.
  • Self-importance. Running late for work or trying to get home quickly is not an excuse for reckless driving. However, too often, people with a false sense of self-importance put other drivers at risk for their own gain.
  • Distracted drivingLooking down at the phone, adjusting the radio, searching for something in the backseat or just daydreaming all take the driver’s mind or eyes off the road. As a result, distracted drivers may not even notice their distance from the vehicle in front of them.

Sometimes tailgating results from poor driving skills, especially if the person is a new driver. Regardless, they are still liable for the damage their negligence caused.

Who Is at Fault in a Tailgating Accident?

Tailgating accidents are almost always the fault of the tailing driver, as is the case with most rear-end collisions. However, under specific circumstances, the other driver could be partially liable. For example, if you suddenly tap the brakes in frustration, an action known as brake-checking, you could bear some responsibility for the accident. The same is true if you have broken taillights.

What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Tailgating Accident Lawyer?

You are under no obligation to hire a tailgating accident lawyer in California. However, you could benefit from their experience and willingness to take over the tedious tasks associated with a car accident case. Some advantages of hiring a tailgating accident lawyer include the following:

  • They handle all communications with the insurance company and the at-fault driver on your behalf, including negotiating a settlement to conclude the case without going to court.
  • They investigate the accident to find evidence of tailgating and contributing factors, sometimes working with experts, such as a car accident reconstruction specialist.
  • They have experience identifying and valuing the damages associated with your accident and resulting injuries.
  • They gather, complete and file all required paperwork should you need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
  • They offer compassionate support as you recover from your wounds and try to restore your life.

A common concern about hiring legal representation is the cost of legal fees. Tailgating car accident lawyers handle personal injury claims, and personal injury attorneys typically work on contingency. This means their payment for services is contingent upon their ability to recover compensation through a settlement, which is most common, or an award from the court.

What Damages Can You Recover From a Tailgating Accident?

The value of your settlement or award comes from the damages available to you. Tort law refers to the losses you sustained during and after the accident as economic and non-economic damages. Returning these losses in monetary form is meant to restore what the at-fault driver took from you. Therefore, when building a case for damages, you first must identify and value all losses.

Economic Damages

Economic damages have inherent monetary values. These refer to how the accident and your injuries affected your financial security. Common examples include the following:

  • Medical care you received following the accident. If you need emergency medical services, hospital care, prescription medications, surgeries, medical devices, rehabilitative treatments and ongoing doctor’s visits, you can claim all those financial losses.
  • Lost income opportunities. Suppose your injuries caused you to miss work or left you with a disability that rendered you unable to perform the job duties required by your previous job. In that case, you can claim all lost wages, current and future, or loss of earning capacity.
  • Property damage. The tailgating driver is liable for all damage your vehicle sustained during the accident. 
  • Replacement services. If you were the primary childcare provider and could not take care of the children because of your injuries, you could claim the cost of childcare. Similar is true if you need to hire assistants to help you with other household duties.

How do you prove economic damages? You can typically provide medical bills, doctor’s notes, pay stubs and tax returns to verify medical expenses and lost wages. To demonstrate property damage, have a mechanic assess the damage to your vehicle and provide a professional estimate as soon as possible.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the losses associated with your psychological state following the accident. Consider how the crash and your injuries impacted your life. Some common examples of these damages include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering from the actual injury as well as the healing process
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish manifesting as anxiety, post-traumatic stress and depression
  • Struggling to enjoy life as you once did
  • Loss of consortium

Loss of consortium only applies to cases where the person’s injuries affected their intimate relationship with a spouse. Proving these losses requires a more sophisticated process. Your attorney would likely interview people in your daily life to testify to changes in your demeanor. They may have experts, such as doctors and mental health professionals, testify on your behalf. They often use the multiplier method to determine the value of your losses by choosing a number between 1.5 and 5 to multiply by the value of your medical expenses.

When Should You Contact a Tailgating Accident Lawyer?

If you suffered an injury in a car accident caused by tailgating, you can hold the responsible party accountable, and a tailgating accident lawyer can help. California is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused the accident is liable for your losses, and tort law allows you to file a claim directly with their insurer or sue them through the civil court system. At Johnson Attorneys Group, we help auto accident victims recover their losses and rebuild their lives daily. We know the devastation a car accident can cause and offer a personalized approach to every accident to ensure you have access to our team at all times. Contact us at (800)208-3538 for a free case review today.

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