Can I Prove the Car Was Following Too Close in a Car Accident?

proving tailgating in Manhattan

Did you know that human error causes the majority of car accidents? Various laws attempt to prevent risky behaviors that increase the likelihood of crashes, but many drivers choose to ignore them. Tailgating is an example of illegal driving practices that often lead to rear-end collisions.

The amount of compensation you might receive depends on accurately assigning fault to the responsible driver. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by tailgating, you may wonder if it’s possible to prove that the car was following too closely. It is, and it’s an important part of your claim.

What Is Tailgating?

Tailgating, or following too closely, describes one driver not leaving enough room between their vehicle and the one they are following. Traffic flows can change in an instant, and this negligent behavior may not give the following driver enough time or space to avoid hitting the car in front of them.

Every state in the U.S. has laws prohibiting tailgating. Drivers should take their speed, weather and road conditions into account and determine a reasonable amount of space to allow between vehicles.

Other risky driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted and aggressive driving, often accompany following too closely. All of these practices are dangerous. When combined, they present a significant threat to road safety.

Why Is Following Too Closely Dangerous?

Cars need time and space to slow, change directions and stop. Distances and times vary depending on factors like traveling speed, road conditions, inclement weather, driver reaction time and vehicle responsiveness.

Reaction time is critical, regardless of whether someone is following too closely. There are several steps:

  • Realizing that a road or traffic condition needs attention
  • Deciding which action to take
  • Initiating the action (pressing the brake pedal or turning the steering wheel, for example)
  • Vehicle response

Although these steps combined usually only take a few seconds, following too closely often doesn’t provide enough time to avoid a rear-end collision.

Why Do You Need To Prove That a Driver Was Following Too Closely?

Fault determines the amount of compensation you can receive and who is responsible for paying it. Even in no-fault states like New York, each driver involved in an accident receives an assigned portion of the fault. In some cases, that fault might be zero, but in others, the blame is more evenly distributed.

Under New York’s pure comparative negligence law, you can seek compensation for your damages regardless of your degree of fault. However, your percentage of fault reduces how much you can receive. For example, a driver found 25% at fault can only obtain 75% of their total damages.

Not only is following too closely illegal, but it is also negligent behavior.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims, including car accidents, and refers to failing to act in the way a reasonable person would in the same situation to avoid causing harm. Every driver has a duty of care to follow safe driving practices and traffic laws to reduce the likelihood of causing a car crash.

To prove negligence, your attorney must show that:

  • Someone owed you a duty of care.
  • That party breached their duty of care.
  • You sustained injuries.
  • The breach directly caused your injuries and associated damages.

We will need evidence to prove these statements to support your claim for compensation.

How Can You Prove That a Driver Was Following Too Closely?

There are several ways to prove that the driver who caused your accident was following too closely. When you hire Cellino Law to help with your car accident claim, we will search for evidence in multiple ways.

Accident Scene Photos

Pictures of an accident site can tell a story about how and why a collision happened. Experts can make lots of calculations that serve as evidence. For instance, vehicle damage can establish the impact force, direction and speed. Skid marks can show speed and braking.

The chance to gather this potentially vital evidence disappears after vehicles move or are taken away from an accident scene. That’s why we recommend taking as many photos and videos as possible before the site changes. Your attorney will use the evidence you provide to support your claim.

Police Reports

Law enforcement officers who respond to your accident record a lot of information in an official report. They include things like driver names, contact information and insurance carriers, facts about the accident and their findings.

Your lawyer will obtain copies of these reports and may use them as evidence that the other driver was following too closely.

Video Footage

Almost everyone has a cell phone these days, and many businesses and residences have video surveillance cameras. There is a possibility that someone recorded a video of your accident as it happened. This footage can provide irrefutable evidence of the following driver’s behavior.

Eyewitness Statements

Laws require accident witnesses to remain at the scene until law enforcement officers interview them. Your lawyer will also speak to anyone who saw your accident to gather their statements.

Accident Reconstruction

If the evidence is unclear, we may hire accident reconstruction specialists. These professionals can use various photos and measurements to recreate an accident and determine whether the driver behind you was following too closely.

When Should You Contact an Attorney?

It is better to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. If you wait, evidence may disappear, and memories begin to blur as time passes. Witnesses may be hard to locate, and video footage might be lost.

Even if you’re unsure about hiring a lawyer, you can contact Cellino Law to request a free consultation. We can provide valuable information, discuss your options and tell you how much compensation you might receive.

You do not have to retain a law firm to represent you. However, most people with an attorney on their side receive significantly more compensation than those without. At Cellino Law, we don’t require any fees upfront, and you won’t pay us unless we win compensation for you.

If you decide to hire us, we can begin investigating your accident immediately. We can also do several other things to make your life easier during the claims process:

  • Take care of all case-related paperwork, such as filing insurance claims and obtaining police reports
  • Handle all communications with insurance companies to allow you time to heal and prevent you from making statements that inadvertently harm your claim
  • Negotiate with liable insurers to obtain a favorable settlement or take your case to trial if needed
  • Ensure that you receive proper medical care

We at Cellino Law take our obligations seriously. We are committed to fiercely advocating for our client’s rights to get the compensation you deserve.

Why Hire Cellino Law After a Car Accident?

You need an experienced, competent attorney if you want the best outcome for your claim. A Cellino firm has represented personal injury clients since 1958, winning over $2 billion in settlements and millions in recoveries. We have handled cases like yours successfully, and we would like to assist you as well.

If someone hit and injured you because they were following too closely, contact Cellino Law today to let us tell you how we can help. Someone is available to speak to you 24/7.

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