Who Could Be Liable for a Tailgating Accident?

Each year, New Jersey sees many car accidents, many of which involve serious injuries. Tailgating, or following too closely, is one form of aggressive driving and a leading cause of rear-end accidents.

A vehicle moving at 55 miles per hour in good conditions requires approximately six seconds and 300 feet to stop. That is longer than the length of an entire football field. Now imagine a driver tailgating the car in front of them at a high rate of speed. If the leading vehicle stops abruptly for any reason, a rear-end collision seems inevitable. The faster both vehicles are moving, the greater the risk is of serious injuries.

Liability for injuries and property damage for tailgating accidents typically lies with the driver in the rear, but there are exceptions. In car accident cases, fault is determined by negligence. Negligence is premised on four specific elements:

  • Duty: The defendant had a duty to operate their vehicle safely, including following at a safe distance for the road conditions.
  • Breach of duty: By following too closely, the defendant breached that duty of care.
  • Causation: The defendant rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle at a red light because they did not have the time and space to stop. That crash caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Damages: The plaintiff’s injuries resulted in physical pain, emotional distress, medical bills, and lost income.

It is less common, but the lead driver can be negligent for a rear-end car accident. They may be liable if they brake suddenly, text and drive, drive intoxicated, have broken tail lights, or reverse into the vehicle behind them.

Motor vehicle accidents are complex. Law enforcement, insurance companies, and attorneys will review camera footage, eyewitness reports, medical reports, and property damage to assess how and why a crash occurred.

How to Maintain a Safe Following Distance

To avoid costly traffic tickets, insurance surcharges, and accidents and injuries, make it a point to follow at a safe distance. In good weather, maintain a minimum of a three-second time delay, and increase the distance to four or five seconds in severe weather.

If you are involved in a tailgating accident, contact a car accident lawyer for legal guidance.

Mount Holly Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Helps Injured Clients Find Justice

Our Mount Holly car accident lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman is committed to achieving a good outcome in your personal injury case and protecting your interests every step of the way. Call us at 856-751-2345 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients in Burlington County and the surrounding areas.