While not considered acceptable behavior behind the wheel, “brake checking” still occurs often. The trouble when an accident happens is determining who was at fault for the collision.
Many drivers brake check drivers behind them because of tailgating. Neither conduct is considered reasonable, and typically both drivers will be found at fault. However, it is hard to determine if a driver was brake checking another or merely slowing down. Further, a “tailgating” driver might have had a reason and was in the process of slowing down.
If you suffered injuries in a brake check accident and need help determining who was at fault, contact our Georgia car accident attorneys for a free evaluation of your case. Call Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357.
Who is to Blame for a Brake Check Accident in Georgia?
Determining who can be held liable for a “brake check” accident can be difficult. Brake checking occurs when a driver presses the brakes quickly or repeatedly, usually in response to another driver tailgating them. Although tailgating another vehicle is wrong and against the law in Georgia, brake-checking the offending driver is not an appropriate response. All drivers must follow not only Georgia’s traffic laws but also have a duty to drive with the same care as other reasonable drivers. The court is clear that it does not consider brake checking to be something that a reasonable driver would do, so it will likely find the driver that committed the act negligent.
However, Georgia law makes it illegal to follow another car too closely, known as tailgating. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-49, drivers cannot follow another vehicle closer than is reasonable and prudent in the situation. What is an appropriate amount of space between the two vehicles depends on the facts of the case, but usually, a tailgating driver will be liable if the court determines that other reasonable drivers would not have followed as closely if in a similar situation. Conditions that the court usually considers are the location of the accident, the speed the drivers were going, the weather at the time, and numerous other factors. Sometimes a diver was not tailgating at all but slowing down as they approached the brake-checking vehicle.
Fortunately, brake-checking a tailgating driver or vise versa will not necessarily bar you from recovering compensation but will likely only reduce the amount you are awarded. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys can help you determine who was at fault if you were injured in a brake check accident.
How is Fault Determined in a Georgia Brake Check Accident Case?
Brake check accident cases are often stressful because there is a fine line between who was at fault. In many cases, both drivers will bear some responsibility for bringing about the accident. Fortunately, contributing to an accident will not prevent a party from pursuing compensation if the other driver was more negligent. Thus, it is important to understand how the court determines negligence and what Georgia’s rule on contributory negligence is.
To recover compensation in a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other driver was negligent, whether they were the brake-checking or tailgating car. Negligence has four elements that must be shown with evidence: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Failure to satisfy even one of the elements will mean you have not established your claim and will not win the case.
To be successful in your lawsuit, you must prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care and that they breached that duty when they caused the accident. You must further prove that your current injuries were caused by this accident and resulted in real financial damages.
In many brake check accident cases, the court finds that both drivers were at fault for causing the accident. Fortunately, you can still recover compensation under Georgia’s contributory negligence rules. So you will still be awarded something for your damages in Georgia if you are not found 50% or more at fault for causing your accident. If you did contribute to your accident but can still recover, your award will be reduced by the percentage you were found at fault. If you were found 50% or more to blame, you would not recover anything. Our Alpharetta car accident attorneys can help you fight accusations that you were the sole cause of your injuries.
How to Prove a Brake Check Accident Lawsuit in Georgia
Proving liability in a brake check accident can be notoriously difficult. In many cases, evidence that clearly shows fault is scarce. Because of this, it is often easy for a negligent driver to pass off their brake-checking attempt with a convenient excuse. For instance, a driver might claim that a cat made them brake immediately, which is a hard fact to challenge. However, your testimony might reveal that the driver had been suddenly braking multiple times leading up to your accident. This might be enough to prove that the driver’s intention was to brake check you.
Many cars today are equipped with dashcams, which can be incredibly useful in these situations. If you had a dashcam, be sure to save the footage to help your case. If you speak to witnesses on the scene, ask if they captured the accident with the smartphone or if they have a dashcam that might have captured any portion of the incident. Our Columbus car accident lawyers will also investigate the scene of your accident to determine if a business or resident’s security cameras were present that might be able to provide some evidence.
Many brake check accident lawsuits are established through the use of testimony. While litigating your case, our team will question the other driver under oath, which can be a powerful tool to get to the truth of the matter. We will also prepare you for what questions the opposing side might ask you. Our Georgia car accident lawyers can help craft a case that gives you the best chance of recovering compensation.
Our Georgia Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you were injured in a brake check accident, our Alpharetta personal injury lawyers can help you prove that the other driver was at fault for your injuries. For a free case review, contact Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.