According to the NHTSA, tailgating is the cause of nearly one-third of all accidents in the United States. Tailgating is when a driver drives too close to the vehicle in front of it. This is a very dangerous driving behavior because it does not provide the driver with enough time to stop. So if the vehicle in front has to stop for an unexpected hazard like a car pulling out into the road, the vehicle behind typically will rear-end them. This can lead to secondary accidents causing multi-car vehicle pile-ups. That is why tailgating accidents usually fall under “negligence per se” when determining who is at fault for the accident.
What Is Negligence Per Se?
Simply put, negligence per se means negligence in and of itself. A good way to think about it is negligence by default. Cornell Law School explains negligence per se as:
“In a torts case, a defendant who violates a statute or regulation without an excuse is automatically considered to have breached her duty of care and is therefore negligent as a matter of law.”
According to Title XXIII, Chapter 36, Statute 316.0895 “Following too closely,” Florida State Uniform Traffic Control explicitly states:
“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway.”
Meaning if you are tailgating in the state of Florida, you are breaking the law. Therefore, you will be found negligent per se. You caused the accident by default because you broke the laws around tailgating.
How Does Negligence Per Se Impact My Tailgating Accident Claim?
In the cases where there is negligence per se, you do not have to prove fault the same way in other cases. This is because fault has already been established by Florida law. This is typically proven by the police accident report. So remember to always contact the police when you’ve been in an auto accident, even if it is minor. What you will have to prove in your claim is that there have been damages. Then you will have to prove those damages are the result of the negligence per se of the tailgating driver. Your attorney may use a variety of evidence to do so including medical bills, traffic camera footage, and witness testimony.
Always Stay Away From Tailgaters
Even though negligence is easier to prove in tailgating accidents, you still want to do everything you can to avoid them. If you encounter a tailgater, here’s what to do:
● Always watch your rear view mirrors for tailgaters
● Try to find a safe way to let them pass, even if you have to pull over
● Maintain a safe speed regardless if you feel pressured to drive faster
Tailgating is also a sign of impaired driving. In fact, it’s a 30-50% likelihood that a drunk driver will tailgate. So if a vehicle is following too close for comfort, get out of the way!
Unfortunately, even the most defensive drivers can be hit by a tailgater. In those cases, give our team a call. Our attorneys at Justice Pays, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh, have recovered over $500 million in accident injury settlements for our Venice area clients. With our experience, we’ll help you determine negligence, negotiate for a full and fair settlement, and get you the compensation you deserve. Give us a call or chat with us right online for a free case review. We’re here 24/7/365 for our clients and are always available to fight for your rights!
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