Car accidents caused by a driver following another driver too closely are common in Texas and throughout the United States. Drivers are more distracted and hurried than ever and may fail to leave enough space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. Intentionally tailgating the vehicle in front of you is a form of aggressive behavior or road rage.
If a vehicle behind you struck your vehicle, you might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. You’ll benefit from hiring a skilled attorney to advocate for your best interests throughout the process. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a skilled car accident attorney.
Why Is Following Too Closely Dangerous?
When drivers don’t keep a minimum distance between vehicles, they may be unable to brake fully to avoid an accident. Even though following too closely may seem harmless initially, it can cause serious injuries and financial consequences for victims. Victims can suffer whiplash, back injuries, broken bones, head injuries, and psychological injuries, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Pursuing a legal claim for compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering can help victims move forward.
§ 545.062 – Following Another Vehicle Too Closely
Following a driver too closely violates Texas Transportation Code – § 545.062. The statute requires drivers to “maintain an assured clear distance between the two (2) vehicles.” Drivers must exercise reasonable care when determining how much space to keep between vehicles. Additionally, drivers should consider the following factors:
- The speed of the vehicles
- The traffic conditions of the street or highway
- How much space would be needed to safely stop without colliding with another vehicle, object, or person on or near the street or highway
Trucks and vehicles with tractors are legally obligated to leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy the space without danger. Finally, all drivers on roadways outside of business or residential districts driving in a caravan must leave enough space between each vehicle or combination of vehicles to enable other vehicles to enter the space without danger.
Negligence Per Se
When a driver violates § 545.062, victims may be able to prove the legal doctrine of negligence per se. When a driver violates safety-related traffic regulations and causes an accident, victims don’t have to prove negligence. The state of Texas recognizes through a law that driving too closely is dangerous because it increases the likelihood of an accident. When victims can prove negligence per se, the process for recovering compensation can be easier. They only need to prove that the driver violated the traffic law, causing the accident that resulted in their injuries.
How to Prove a Car Was Following You Too Closely
You must prove that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident to recover compensation for your injuries. Proving the driver behind you was following too closely can be challenging, and working with an attorney can help you significantly. The attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC are prepared to investigate the circumstances leading up to your accident thoroughly. We will gather all available evidence proving that liability for the accident is on the tailgating driver. Witness statements confirm that the other driver followed you too closely, causing the accident.
If you can safely do so, try to take photos or videos of the car accident scene with your cell phone. Accident reconstruction experts can help you use that evidence to determine whether or not the other driver was tailgating. Additionally, CCTV footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras may prove that the driver following you was too close.
Medical and police reports can also be valuable evidence when the other driver was unwilling to admit it but following too closely. Contacting a car accident attorney as soon as possible after you receive medical treatment can help you prove another driver caused the accident.
What to Do After Being Injured in a “Following Too Closely” Car Accident
The steps you take after a car accident can help or hinder your claim for compensation. An attorney can negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney can handle all communication between you and the insurance company. However, taking specific steps to protect your claim can help your attorney build a strong case.
First, you should call 911, even if you feel fine or aren’t sure about the seriousness of your injuries. Some injuries can take time to develop and show symptoms. The EMTs and police officers who attended your accident must file a report, and you may be able to use those reports to prove that the at-fault driver was following you too closely. When possible, exchange contact information with the driver following too closely and any witnesses to the accident scene. Taking photos and videos of the accident scene may help you prove that the driver rear-ended you.
Obtaining medical treatment is crucial to proving the extent of your injuries. Following your doctor’s instructions, taking prescribed medication, and attending your appointments will help prove that your injuries are as severe as you claim. You should avoid discussing your case with insurance adjusters. Some adjusters may offer you a low settlement amount to close your case as soon as possible. They may use your words against you to justify dismissing your case or reducing the settlement amount. Kindly refuse to give any statement and discuss the offer with your attorney as soon as possible. Taking these steps can help you protect your right to pursue a claim.
Contact a Texas Car Accident Attorney
Following a vehicle too closely is a form of negligence, and victims of tailgating accidents have a right to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If you can prove that the driver who hit you wasn’t at a proper distance from your vehicle when the accident occurred, the attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC are here to help. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC to learn more.