Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving that is intimidating as well as dangerous, particularly at highway speeds. Many drivers are tempted to follow too closely behind slow-moving vehicles, but when they do, they are taking serious risks of causing severe injuries in a rear-end collision.
In a single recent year, there were 23,776 traffic crashes statewide that were caused by following too closely, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT). Sadly, 22 of those accidents involved fatalities, and 2,699 caused serious injuries.
If you have been injured in a rear-end collision caused by a driver who was tailgating, contact the experienced Dallas car accident attorneys at Kraft & Associates, P.C. It is important that you speak with a lawyer before you talk to insurance adjusters or sign any paperwork. Our lawyers have been helping injured car accident victims for decades, and we have tried and settled cases in Dallas and many other North Texas locations.
When a driver is following too closely to the vehicle ahead, known as the “lead vehicle,” the tailgating driver may not have enough time to stop if the driver of the lead vehicle needs to brake suddenly. The proper following distance under normal circumstances is about 3 to 4 seconds.
However, it might also be advisable to allow more than 3 to 4 seconds when traffic is heavy or moving fast. A longer following distance may also be required in bad weather, such as rain, fog, snow and ice. Heavy trucks require greater following distances, and generally, the larger the vehicle and the faster its speed, the greater following distance is required.
Rear-end collisions are the most frequent type of traffic crash in the U.S., accounting for 29 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They can cause very serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), internal organ damage, fractures, spinal cord injuries, back injuries and even death.
The most commonly suffered injury in rear-end collisions is whiplash, so named because of the whip-like motion of the head and neck that occurs in many rear-end collisions. Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury that can have long-term consequences, such as headaches, neck pain, stiffness, back pain, shoulder pain and other debilitating symptoms.
Serious cases of whiplash can even be caused by low-speed impacts in rear-end collisions that do little damage to the vehicles involved.
In most cases, when a rear-end collision occurs, the driver who was following too closely is presumed to be liable for the crash and injuries. That is because a driver who leaves enough following distance should be able to stop in time, even if the lead driver stops unexpectedly.
In some cases, however, it is the lead driver who is responsible for a rear-end crash. For example, a driver who switches lanes erratically, cutting off the driver behind, then slams on the brakes could potentially be held liable for the resulting rear-end collision.
When the negligence of a tailgating driver causes a rear-end collision, injured occupants of the lead car may be entitled to file a claim against the tailgating driver for compensation for their injuries. Damages that the victims may be entitled to claim include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
It you have been hurt in an accident caused by a tailgating driver, contact our office to arrange for a free case review. We can let you know if you may have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim. We are an established firm, and our staff and attorneys are friendly and easy to talk to.
When you work with Kraft & Associates, P.C., our experienced Dallas personal injury attorneys can skillfully negotiate on your behalf for a fair settlement before filing a lawsuit, but will not hesitate to go to trial to protect your rights and interests. We have handled thousands of car accident cases over the years, and we know what to do when dealing with insurance companies. You can have confidence that we are committed to helping you pursue fair compensation for your injuries.