Who is At-Fault in an Accident Caused by Brake Checking?

Posted on 03/28/24

in Car Accidents

Have you ever been driving down the highway, not many cars in sight, and run into a slow-moving vehicle in the left lane? It can be incredibly frustrating when they refuse to move over, which may cause you to accidentally drive close behind them.

However, things can become more than frustrating – they can become dangerous when the driver in front refuses to move over and engages in risky behavior. Sometimes the driver in front takes it one step further and engages in a dangerous practice called brake checking. The Savannah personal injury lawyers emphasize the importance of understanding what brake checking is and how liability works in these situations.

What Is Brake Checking?

Brake checking is the act of abruptly activating the vehicle brakes to send a message to the driver behind. This practice is illegal and can startle other drivers as well as increase their chances of getting into an accident due to the sudden braking motion. Rear-end collisions are common when brake checking occurs because the driver in back may not be able to stop in time.

Why Do Drivers Brake Check?

Drivers sometimes engage in brake checking to purposely cause an accident so they can collect money, but it is more frequently used to annoy another driver who is following too closely. The sudden braking motion will often cause the trailing car to quickly slow down or move over into another lane.

How to Prevent Brake Checking Accidents

Brake checking accidents can be incredibly dangerous, but they can be avoided through proactive driving habits. Keep in mind the following tips:

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

One of the most effective strategies is keeping enough distance between your vehicle and those ahead. This allows ample time for reactions should sudden stops occur, reducing collision risks substantially.

Stay Calm and Focused

Driving can sometimes be aggravating, particularly in heavy traffic or confrontational situations. It’s important to remain calm and not react with anger or irritation towards other drivers’ aggressive behaviors such as brake checking. If you notice a vehicle in front of you doing this, simply slow down and be patient. Also consider moving to another lane if possible.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Paying close attention to what is happening around you can give you critical seconds to react and adapt. Continuously scan the road, check mirrors, monitor the actions of other drivers, and watch for brake lights ahead. Anticipate sudden stops or erratic behavior from vehicles in your vicinity.

Use Defensive Driving Techniques

Employ defensive driving techniques by being ready to respond safely if another driver performs a dangerous maneuver like brake checking. This involves actively thinking several steps ahead while driving – considering potential escape routes and expecting the unexpected – so that you’re prepared mentally and physically should an unanticipated event unfold on the road.

These strategies can help safeguard you and others on the road.

Brake Checking in Georgia is Illegal – Proving Negligence

In Georgia, brake checking is illegal, and you may be able to recover compensation if you’re involved in an accident caused by this maneuver. To do this, you will need to provide evidence that the other driver was negligent.

It’s helpful when there is visual evidence that proves negligence on behalf of the other driver, like dash cams, which are increasingly popular among drivers. Nearby surveillance cameras (such as security footage from businesses), can also help prove negligence on behalf of the other party involved in the crash.

Additionally, witness testimony is also crucial in brake-checking cases. This can include witnesses who were in the car with you or others who just happened to be around and see the incident.

Rear end accident

Understanding Modified Comparative Negligence and Brake Checking in Georgia

Modified comparative negligence is a legal rule that determines how much money an injured person can receive from a personal injury claim. Under Georgia law:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of this Code section or any other provisions of law which might be construed to the contrary, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to receive any damages if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed.”

In cases involving brake checking, both parties may be found partially at fault due to the nature of rear-end collisions. For example, if you were driving too close behind another car and had insufficient space to stop when they tapped their brakes, then you may be found partially at fault for your injuries as well as those of the other party involved in the collision.

However, if you were able to prove that you were less than 50% at fault then you would still be eligible for compensation under modified comparative negligence laws in Georgia.

If you rear-ended someone because they were brake checking, don’t assume that you’re automatically at fault because you were the rear driver. In some circumstances, you could still be entitled to compensation.

What to Do After a Brake Checking Accident

If you have been involved in a brake checking accident, it’s important to know what to do following the accident to give yourself the best chance at staying safe and recovering from the accident. Here’s what you should do:

Ensure Safety

Immediately following the incident, if it’s safe to do so and without putting yourself or others at further risk, move your vehicle to a secure location. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries – call 911 for medical assistance if there is any indication of injury.

Call the Police

Having law enforcement at the scene is crucial. They can facilitate medical help if needed, document the accident, and secure the area to prevent further incidents. Requesting a copy of the police report they create is important as it officially catalogs the details surrounding your brake checking accident. This document becomes pivotal when you initiate legal or insurance proceedings since it serves as a formal reference about what happened.

Document the Scene

While waiting for authorities to arrive, if you are able, gather evidence from the crash site by taking photos of vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant signage that could have influenced driving behavior leading up to the accident.

Also take notes including the time of the accident, where it occurred, and contact information of any potential witnesses who saw what happened.

Seek Medical Attention

Following a brake checking accident, you should seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent due to adrenaline and stress. A comprehensive medical evaluation helps document any injuries sustained which is essential for your health as well as any future insurance claims or legal action.

Consult with a Lawyer in Savannah, GA

Early consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer can be instrumental in safeguarding your rights and ensuring you understand the nuances of your insurance policy and potential compensation.

A Savannah car accident attorney can provide insight into how to handle conversations with insurance companies, collect and organize evidence effectively, assess the full extent of your damages, negotiate favorable settlements on your behalf, or take the case to court if necessary. Contact Bowen Painter Trial Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.