Who Is at Fault for a Brake Check Auto Accident in Maryland?

“Brake checking” is the common name for slamming on the brakes to get someone who is tailgating you to back off. While this is often incredibly dangerous – especially at highway speeds – it happens quite often. When one person is tailgating and the other person brake checks, it can often lead to car crashes, and the question of who is at fault will inevitably arise.

Generally, it is illegal to brake check someone. If this causes a car collision, you will likely be held at fault for the accident. However, tailgating is also illegal. Because of this, there is often a legal battle over who is at fault, and a jury might have a hard time deciding. In many cases, the court can decide that both drivers were at fault, shutting down the potential for either driver to file an injury claim.

You should never follow another vehicle too closely, and you should never brake check a tailgater. Either reckless driving practice can lead to a rear-end collision and serious injuries that do not need to happen. Always allow enough space between your vehicle and the car ahead to stop safely if the car in front brakes unexpectedly.

What Is Brake Checking?

Brake checking occurs when a driver needlessly applies their brakes to startle, frighten, or retaliate against a driver who is following closely behind. The practice of brake checking includes slamming on the brakes and repeatedly tapping the brake pedal to send a message to the trailing driver. The key element that defines brake checking is intent. If you break with the specific intent of forcing the car behind you to respond, that would be considered brake checking.

Intent can be inferred if you suddenly brake for no obvious or apparent reason and from the circumstances. In other words, if you are exchanging unpleasant gestures with a driver behind you and then you slam on your brakes when there is nothing in front of you to warrant braking, your intent can be assumed.

Usually, a driver who “brake checks” another driver thinks they are being tailgated and hopes to scare the driver into slowing down and backing off. This aggressive behavior, however, is counterintuitive and increases the odds of a car collision. If you believe you are being tailgated, it is important to remain calm and change lanes, if possible, to let the other driver pass by.

How Can You Prove That a Driver Brake Checked You?

Usually, the driver of the rear vehicle in a rear-end car accident is presumed to be at fault, because he or she failed to slow down or stop in time to avoid the collision. However, the presumption is not absolute. If the rear driver presents evidence establishing that the lead driver’s negligence contributed to the car wreck, the insurer or a court must consider it.

Evidence of a driver having stopped short or practiced brake checking before a car crash may be gathered from one or more of the following:

  • Witness statements, including passengers in either car or others who saw the collision. Witnesses may have video, especially if they saw repeated brake checking in traffic or the brake checking driver was upset after the accident and admitted what they did.
  • Skid marks on the roadway.
  • Event data recorder (EDR) readout from the lead vehicle, showing braking or acceleration, among other information from the moment before the collision.
  • Surveillance video, which may be found at nearby businesses and may show the accident.
  • Dashcam footage provided by the rear driver.

Obtaining this type of evidence requires experience in interacting with local law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and their legal representatives. An experienced personal injury attorney plays a crucial role in determining fault after a brake check accident in Maryland.

How Much Compensation May You Seek in a Maryland Brake Check Case?

The amount of money you can seek through an insurance claim for a brake check accident depends on various factors. The insurance coverage that applies to the car collision, the severity of the damage and injuries, and the determination of fault can all play a role in the compensation the insurer may offer you trough a settlement.

A car accident attorney can help you estimate the damages you incur after a brake check wreck and go over wat you can expect regarding recovery and the types of damages available.

Examples of damages you may be eligible to pursue in an auto crash include:

  • Medical treatment expenses
  • Loss of your income due to the accident and your injuries
  • Rental expenses
  • Repair costs for your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering

If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of a brake check accident, take proactive action to protect your legal rights. It is likely that the other driver will deny intentionally brake check you and will try to contradict your version of the events. The quicker you act to get medical attention and the legal support you need, the sooner you can file a claim for your losses.

In the Event of a Brake Checking Wreck, What Should I Do?

There are certain steps following a brake check car accident that you take to protect your legal rights. Documentation, video evidence collection, and personal safety are all possible with these steps. There is no need to panic if you can not follow these steps all at once. If you are hurt after a crash, contact a seasoned Baltimore car accident lawyer.

Here are a few steps you can take after a brake check accident:

  1. Avoid shouting and remain calm. Road rage and driver disputes are frequently involved in brake check accidents. Maintain calm and rational communication with the other driver.
  2. Get in touch with law enforcement. Be sure you and the other drivers are not injured. Even if the car wreck is minor, call 911. In case of injury, call an ambulance. Do not forget to document what the police hear when they arrive.
  3. It would help if you did not admit fault. The reckless driver should not be talked to about fault. Your insurance companies and the police will investigate the accident to determine fault, so both of you do not have to admit blame.
  4. Make sure you gather all the information you can. Contact information and names should be exchanged with the other driver. As soon as you can, start writing down your description of the collision. Then take pictures and ask eyewitnesses for their names. Make sure that you record the police report number, as well.
  5. The hospital is the best place to go. It would help if you visited a Maryland hospital without delay before thinking about filing a car insurance claim. Get a copy of all relevant medical records and follow the prescribed treatment plan.

Talk to a Skilled Car Accident Attorney in Maryland

If you are in a car accident caused by brake checking, hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Larry B. Litt can help you handle the insurance company to seek the compensation you need to cover your losses after the crash.

Whether you pursue a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or your own, the insurance companies will likely challenge their liability and the compensation available to you. A car crash attorney can represent your interests, communicate with the insurers on your behalf, investigate the accident, and attempt to negotiate the best possible settlement to cover your damages.

Car accident lawyers often offer free evaluations to car crash victims. This free opportunity allows you to ask questions and allows a lawyer to analyze your case and determine whether they can fight for compensation on your behalf. Brake checking that causes a collision can leave you frustrated and suffering painful injuries and costly damages. Contact the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt at 443-844-1528 anytime day or night to review your legal options and begin your claim for compensation.