Buffalo, NY Tailgating Accident Lawyer
Tailgating is the leading cause of rear-end collisions, which comprise most two-car auto accidents. New York is one of only a few states with specific regulations outlawing tailgating. Offenders can be ticketed for the act alone, but the consequences are much more significant when tailgating turns into a car crash. Suppose you suffered an injury in an accident that occurred as a result of tailgating. In that case, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages from the person at fault, and you may benefit from seeking counsel from a tailgating accident lawyer.
What Is Tailgating?
Tailgating is the act of following too closely behind another vehicle on the road. The danger of tailgating is that it leaves no room for the tailing driver to brake if the leading vehicle stops abruptly. Unfortunately, no state has a mandated measurement for how far you should be from the car in front of you, primarily because it would be virtually impossible for anyone to ensure they maintain an exact number of feet from another vehicle while driving.
However, most states and local law enforcement agree that the three-second rule is an acceptable form of measurement. When driving behind a vehicle, designate a stationary or fixed object and use that to measure the seconds between when each vehicle passes it. For example, start counting when the car in front of you passes. You are too close if you do not get to three before you pass the object. You are at a reasonable distance if you get to three before passing the object. Unfortunately, most people are not thinking reasonably when tailgating.
What Are Some Common Reasons for Tailgating?
There are several reasons that a person might tailgate another driver. For example:
- They may be in a hurry to get somewhere.
- They could be driving under the influence, which leads to a lack of awareness on the road and impaired judgment.
- It could be a case of road rage or aggressive driving.
- They may be distracted and not notice when riding too closely.
Sometimes tailgating is unavoidable. In congested traffic, for example, everyone is tailgating someone. However, congested traffic moves at a very low speed, if it moves at all, making it a low risk for collision. However, tailing another vehicle too closely at high speed is always extremely dangerous.
Who Is Liable in a Tailgating Accident?
In nearly all cases, the rear driver is at fault in a tailgating accident. Had that driver not followed too closely, they would have likely avoided a collision. When you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you must provide the evidence to support your claim that the other driver caused the accident. Thankfully, that is typically relatively easy in a tailgating accident. However, there are rare occasions when the leading driver bears responsibility for the accident.
Is the Leading Driver Ever at Fault?
All car accidents are different, and there is not always a clear line between who is at fault and who is not. Sometimes, both parties bear responsibility for the crash. For example, the driver in front may be at least partially at fault if they:
- Drove with defective tail lights
- Drove while distracted
- Braked abruptly for no reason
- Drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Exhibited signs of road rage
In cases of shared fault, New York applies the pure comparative negligence rule, which states that you, the plaintiff, can still recover a percentage of the damages’ value. The final amount you receive reflects the court’s final award for damages minus your percentage of fault.
What Are Some Common Injuries From Tailgating Accidents?
Tailgating can result in anything from a minor bumper dent to devastating injuries and vehicle damage. Some common injuries from tailgating that resulted in a rear-end collision include:
- Whiplash is likely the most common injury. Even a fender-bender accident can produce enough force to cause whiplash. It occurs when the impact causes the person’s head to move forcefully backward and forward quickly, causing injury to the soft tissue of the neck. It can be excruciatingly painful and cause issues for a very long time.
- Fractures and broken bones commonly occur because the body has little room to move in the car, and hitting the dash or steering wheel can cause fractures anywhere on the body.
- Back injuries can manifest in many forms. It may be as mild as a strained muscle or as severe as a herniated disc or spinal cord injury.
- Seat belt injuries are common in most car accidents. Seat belts are an essential safety feature but can also cause serious injuries, including internal bleeding or damage that may present with latent symptoms.
- Chest injuries can easily occur when the driver’s abdomen impacts the steering wheel.
Seeing a doctor after a car accident is crucial for several reasons. You could have injuries not visible to the naked eye that can cause irreparable damage if untreated for too long. Additionally, if you plan to seek compensation for your injuries, you need a record of your diagnosis and treatment. The more time you place between the date of the accident and your first visit to the doctor, the more detrimental it could be to our claim.
What Does New York Law Say About Tailgating?
Tailgating is illegal in New York. The penalty for a tailgating violation is $150 for the first time, $300 for the second, and $450 for the third. You can also receive four points on your driving record, and because you become a greater risk to your insurance provider, it may raise your insurance premiums as well.
Adding points to your driver’s license is a risky game in New York. Because following another vehicle too closely risks causing an accident, the state considers it a serious offense under traffic laws. In addition, if you receive enough points on your license within a year and a half, a judge may suspend it.
How Can a Tailgating Accident Lawyer Help You Settle Your Case?
A tailgating accident may seem like an open and shut case. You may be tempted to handle it on your own. Still, you may benefit from contacting a car accident lawyer in Buffalo with specific knowledge of tailgating collisions for several reasons:
- They may find valuable losses you did not consider in your claim.
- They can handle any bad faith tactics the insurance company uses to avoid paying you a fair settlement.
- They have likely worked on many cases very similar to yours in the past.
- Their pay is typically contingent upon whether or not they secure a settlement or award for you.
- They are well-versed in New York state laws pertaining to tailgating and rear-end collisions.
- They understand what you are going through and can offer professional and friendly support.
At Cellino Law, our experienced tailgating accident lawyers provide legal representation proven to produce results. Our ambition is to offer our clients tenacious representation and make them feel like a part of our family. We charge no upfront fees to review the details of your case and provide counsel at no cost until we get you the compensation you deserve. For more information on how Cellino Law can help you build your case and win, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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