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Tailgating Accidents

If you or a loved one has been hurt because of a tailgating driver, the experienced Stuart car accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston are ready to help.

Car Crash Lawyers Representing Victims in Stuart and Surrounding Areas

There are two kinds of tailgating. One is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon getting ready for your favorite football team to take the field. The other is a high-risk traffic maneuver most often executed by impatient, aggressive motorists who do not recognize the danger involved in following too closely behind the vehicle traveling directly in front of them. If you have been involved in a serious motor vehicle collision caused by a tailgating driver, the Stuart car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston are here to assist you in your efforts to hold the responsible driver liable for your injuries.

The simple fact is that many rear-end collisions result from tailgating, and there is little that a motorist can do to avoid such an accident if the driver behind them persists in following too closely. In theory, all drivers should follow the three-second rule of maintaining at least three seconds of traveling distance between vehicles, which experts suggest is necessary to avoid a collision. However, not all drivers obey this rule, or the other rules of the road for that matter. Tailgating is especially dangerous in heavy traffic, on wet or icy roads, and when a driver is following a much smaller vehicle like a motorcycle.

Bringing a Personal Injury Claim After a Tailgating Accident

The central issue in motor vehicle accident cases is whether the defendant was negligent. Typically, this involves a four-step inquiry into whether the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, whether the duty was breached, whether the plaintiff was harmed, and whether there was causation connecting the defendant’s carelessness to the plaintiff’s injuries. In rear-end car accident cases, moreover, Florida courts allow the plaintiff to rely on a rebuttable presumption that the defendant was negligent if the defendant was driving behind the plaintiff. This means that, after a crash in which a tailgating driver crashes into the back of the car in front of them, the courts assume that the tailgater was at fault. As a result, the main issue that is disputed may be damages rather than liability.

However, under Florida’s pure comparative fault law, a defendant may ask the court to consider whether the plaintiff also contributed to the accident through their own negligence. If the defendant is able to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner contributed to the collision, the jury may apportion fault between the parties. The plaintiff still may recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, lost enjoyment of life, and other forms of harm, although the amount will be proportional to the degree of fault attributed to the defendant.