We’ve all seen it or done it, tapped our brakes to get the tailgaters off our tail. And in most cases, it’s a significant but harmless gesture to communicate to the car behind you – “politely back off and give me space.” Truth be told, it’s not exactly a legal maneuver and it can have unintended and serious repercussions including rear end collisions, severe injuries and possibly death.
When it comes to rear end collisions, fault is typically assigned to the trailing vehicle. As the law sees it, when implementing safe driving practices, the second vehicle is capable and obligated to avoid an accident at all costs. For this reason, when an accident occurs, it’s assumed the second vehicle was either not obeying the law, was distracted or following too closely.
This is of course, unless the leading vehicle was driving aggressively (as in road rage), or otherwise engaging in unsafe driving practices like brake tapping. When accidents happen under these conditions, fault may be assigned to the aggressive driver.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove that brake checking or other careless acts are to blame for the crash. For this reason you may need the help of a skillful Philadelphia car accident lawyer to prove that the other driver intentionally put you in an unavoidable and dangerous situation.
What Qualifies as Brake Checking?
Brake checking is when one driver deliberately taps or slams on their brakes to alert the person behind them they’re following too closely. Many people think this is the appropriate thing to do to get someone to back off your bumper but brake tapping can be incredibly dangerous.
Here in Pennsylvania, this type of reckless and careless driving is illegal. Any person who operates a vehicle with disregard towards other persons or property, can be found guilty of careless driving and can be sued for damages and personal injury.
Brake Checking Can Cause Accidents and Serious Injury
Brake checking incidents most often result in rear end collisions which can cause serious injuries to anyone involved. Even if the second vehicle is able to swerve out of the way, they become a danger to everyone else on the road. Whether brake checking causes a rear end collision, side-swipe, or other serious accident, the injuries can be severe.
Common injuries from these kinds of accidents are:
- Traumatic Brain injury
- Back or Spine injury
- Soft tissue injury
How to Prove Fault in a Brake Checking Accident
Proving the other driver deliberately checked their brakes and put you in a dangerous and unavoidable situation can be difficult unless you have the following:
- Dashcam footage of the accident
- Statements from an eyewitness or other person involved
- Other video surveillance footage from near the accident
- Irrefutable damage from the front driver’s vehicle
If these types of evidence are not available, you may need to prove the other driver intentionally and aggressively applied their brakes, did so to endanger you, and if their actions directly caused you to lose control or not be able to respond to the situation appropriately.
These types of cases can be difficult to prove so your best bet is to hire an experienced and aggressive car accident lawyer. They know how to protect your case and make sure you get compensation you need for any accident related injuries and losses.