Tailgating is a common cause of car accidents in Ohio and can lead to serious injuries. Maybe you’re in traffic to see a Clippers game, or you are simply trying to get to work, but when drivers fail to maintain a safe distance, they increase the risk of rear-end collisions, resulting in significant harm. Tailgating does not only harm you and the other driver, but it may cause the impacted car to crash into other vehicles as well. If you have been involved in an accident caused by tailgating, it's essential to understand the necessary steps to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence and avoid shouldering the financial burden.
What is tailgating?
Tailgating refers to the failure of motorists to maintain a safe stopping distance behind them and the vehicle in front of them. When drivers follow too closely, they may not have enough time to react and avoid colliding with the leading car if it suddenly brakes.
According to the NHTSA, drivers should generally maintain at least a four-second stopping distance between vehicles, depending on their speed. Although rear-end collisions are often considered minor, accidents caused by tailgating frequently result in severe injuries. Some examples of injuries sustained in such accidents include facial bruising, fractured ribs, broken limbs or collarbones, amputation, whiplash, burns, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
What to do after a tailgating accident
After a tailgating accident, it is crucial to take immediate steps to protect your well-being and build a strong case against the responsible party:
- Call 911 and request emergency assistance.
- Make sure to complete an accident report at the scene.
- Seek medical attention promptly to address any injuries and prevent further complications.
- While waiting for medical help, document the accident scene, gather any relevant information from the drivers) involved and take pictures/video of the scene, the vehicles, and your own injuries.
- Consult with a tailgating accident lawyer to understand your legal options and receive guidance.
- After consulting with your lawyer, notify your insurance company about the injuries and damages you have suffered or have your attorney do so on your behalf.
- Allow your personal injury attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
- If the insurance settlement offered is insufficient, your attorney will present your tailgating case in court.
Determining fault and liability in a tailgating accident
Establishing liability is crucial in a tailgating car accident. Drivers who fail to exercise reasonable care or maintain a safe distance should be held accountable. While the rear driver is often found liable, there may be instances where other factors, such as a sudden medical emergency or mechanical defect, contribute to the accident and share blame.
Although being hit from behind typically places fault on the other driver, it's important to note that you could also share liability for a rear-end collision. Violating traffic laws, making sudden lane changes, driving without proper lighting, or driving below the speed limit may reduce the amount of settlement you receive under Ohio's modified comparative negligence laws.
Damages and compensation for rear-end accidents in Columbus
When you are involved in a rear-end accident such as one caused by tailgating, you have the right to seek compensation for all your losses. Some examples of recoverable economic and non-economic damages include car repairs, loss of income, reduced earning capacity, diminished quality of life, wage-related losses, personal property damages, and current and future healthcare costs. In addition to these economic damages, Ohio common law allows compensation for the following general damages: physical pain, anxiety, mental distress, loss of enjoyment of life, inability to perform ordinary activities, and physical impairment.
However, it's important to remember that if you are partially responsible for your injuries, your settlement may be affected under Ohio's comparative negligence laws, if certain criteria are met. Your settlement amount will be reduced proportionately based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found 5% responsible for your injuries, your settlement may be reduced by five percent. It is important to have an experienced attorney review your specific situation to determine if comparative reductions or apportionment of fault will apply to your case.
Why you want a Columbus car accident lawyer on your side
Having a legal advocate by your side is crucial after a tailgating accident. Despite the apparent liability of the other party, you can expect the insurance company and the accused to push back. While you focus on your recovery, your lawyer will investigate the accident, establish negligence, gather compelling evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company to protect your rights and ensure fair compensation for your damages.
By engaging a knowledgeable attorney, you gain an ally who will fight on your behalf. They will navigate the complexities of the legal process, gather evidence to support your case, and skillfully negotiate with the insurance company. With their experience and skill on your side, you can rest assured that your rights and best interests will be safeguarded throughout the entire process.
Remember, time is of the essence. In Ohio, victims typically have a two-year timeframe to file personal injury claims, although certain exceptions may result in shorter or longer time limits.
It is highly advisable to reach out to us without delay. By contacting us promptly, we can initiate the necessary steps to thoroughly investigate the accident scene, collaborate with law enforcement, and interview witnesses while the evidence and recollections are still vivid. Acting swiftly allows us to provide you with timely assistance and begin working towards a resolution as soon as possible.
Reach out to a tailgating accident lawyer as soon as possible to maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. They will guide you through the necessary steps, provide expert advice, and work diligently to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Whether you reside in the Columbus area or elsewhere, if you have sustained injuries in a car accident, the dedicated team of attorneys at Soroka & Associates is ready to assist you. We are committed to providing our expertise and support. To begin the process, we invite you to reach out to us for a free consultation where we will address any questions or concerns you may have. Reach out to us by calling our offices or completing our contact form. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us today to take the first step towards compensation. Our Columbus car accident lawyers serve clients throughout Central Ohio.