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Assessing Liability After a Brake Check Collision

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Oct 04, 2021 in Auto Accidents

behind a car brake lightTailgating another car is dangerous because the other driver may need to quickly hit the brakes and you may not have enough time to stop before plowing into the back of another car. You may think you can simply keep your eyes on the car, and you will be able to react quickly enough to prevent a crash. However, the odds are against you.

Another factor to consider is the driver in front of you may get angry that you are tailgating him or her. He or she may hit the brakes intentionally to try to get you to back off and this may cause a crash. Sometimes drivers do this because they know you will probably be found at fault. If there was no reason to hit the brakes, it may be insurance fraud.

Below, our experienced car accident lawyers in Phoenix discuss fault for a brake check crash and what to do if you are ever involved in this type of accident.

Crash victims who have questions about their legal options can contact our firm for a free consultation to learn how we may be able to assist them.

Defining Brake Checking

Brake checking is sometimes called brake testing and it occurs when a driver suddenly hits the brakes to scare or force the driver behind him or her to slow down or back off. Drivers who brake check may be hoping to catch the rear driver off guard. If the rear driver does not back off, maybe he or she will change lanes.

No one likes being tailgated and it can make people angry, which sometimes results in reckless behavior, like brake checking. While getting frustrated with a tailgating driver is understandable, you should not engage in brake checking. Change lanes if you can. If you can speed up a little more without exceeding the speed limit, you can also do that.

Who May Be at Fault in a Brake Check Crash?

Brake check crashes are also rear-end crashes. Typically, the rear driver is found at fault for a rear-end crash. Drivers have a legal obligation to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them because not doing so increases the odds of a collision.

However, a brake check collision is different from other types of rear-end crashes because the lead driver intentionally made the situation more dangerous. That is why it is possible both drivers may be partially at fault for damages.

It is important to note it may be difficult to prove the lead driver hit the brakes intentionally. You may need witness statements or dash camera footage if it is available. You may also need to establish there was no legitimate reason for the lead driver to brake. This may also help you prove insurance fraud.

In short, there are three main factors that will probably need to be considered after a brake check crash:

  • Whether the lead driver hit the brakes on purpose
  • Whether the brake check put the rear driver in danger
  • Whether the brake check induced fear in the trailing driver

What to Do After a Brake Check Crash

If you are ever involved in a brake check collision, it is important to know how to respond to help protect your claim. You may be concerned about being found partially at fault, but you may be able to challenge your percentage of fault.

You should never admit fault at the scene of the crash or when talking to the insurance company. You should not apologize to the other driver. Call 9-1-1 so the police will come to the scene to assess the accident.

If you were the one who was brake checked, and you think there was no reason for the lead driver to hit the brakes, tell the officer. If the other driver got off his or her car after the crash and became angry with you, inform the officer. This may help prove the other driver was engaging in brake checking.

You may have been following the other driver too closely, but this is something that needs to be established by investigating the crash and gathering evidence. If you are physically able to do so and it is safe, talk to eyewitnesses. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. Look around for cameras that may have captured the crash.

Another important step is to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Brake check crashes can result in severe soft-tissue injuries like whiplash and even brain injuries. The faster you were traveling at the time of impact, the worse the injuries may be.

Recovering compensation for a soft-tissue injury is hard enough without the insurance company attacking your credibility because you waited to seek treatment. Even if the pain you are feeling seems minor, you should go to the hospital. If the injury is more severe than you initially think, you will probably be thanking yourself later that you were proactive about getting medical treatment.

Considering Your Legal Options? Call Phillips Law Group

Pursuing compensation for car crash damages can be more difficult than you realize. You may think you have a strong case, but insurance companies have been known to make things very difficult no matter how strong a case may be.

If the insurance company denies or undervalues your claim, you need an experienced advocate to fight back. At Phillips Law Group, we have been securing compensation for crash victims for nearly three decades. Our services come at no upfront cost, which means no risk to you.

We are here to help. Give us a call today. Ph: 1-800-706-3000

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