Tailgating is an incredibly dangerous form of aggressive driving. Impatient drivers will sometimes insist on staying as close as they possibly can to the rear of the car in front of them. They might not think the other driver is going fast enough, or maybe they’re just having a bad day. Whatever the reason, tailgating can result in severe accidents, leading to significant medical bills, lost wages and other types of damages.
At Sand Law, we’re passionate about holding tailgaters, as well as other types of negligent drivers, accountable for their actions. Our attorneys have achieved an impressive track record of success in helping our clients obtain the money they deserve for the suffering they’ve had to experience. We may be able to do the same for you. Please use our online contact form or give us a call at 651-291-7263 for a free consultation.
Here’s a look at the dangers of tailgating, as well as your potential legal options should you be hurt in an accident due to this dangerous behavior.
Why Tailgating is Dangerous
A driver may tailgate because they’re angry behind the wheel due to a lousy day at work, or they’re simply tired of being stuck in traffic. When tailgating leads to a wreck, that aggressive driver will face a significant amount of liability – especially if the crash leads to a severe injury.
People who tailgate probably don’t realize how much room their vehicles need in order to stop completely. A passenger car going 60 miles an hour takes 250 feet, while a semi-truck needs a great deal more room. Should the car in front of a tailgater have to stop quickly, the result will very likely be a serious accident.
Is Following Too Closely Illegal in Minnesota?
According to Minnesota state law, one driver cannot follow another closer than what is deemed a “reasonable and prudent” distance. If a motorist is caught tailgating, that could lead to a charge of reckless or careless driving. This charge is considered a misdemeanor unless an accident occurs that leads to a serious injury or death. In that case, the charge is increased to a gross misdemeanor.
The penalties for both can be substantial. A misdemeanor can lead to a jail term of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000. A gross misdemeanor can result in a fine of up to $3,000, as well as a year in jail.
How to Prove that the Driver Who Hit You Was Following Too Closely
You may be completely convinced that the driver who hit you was tailgating. Unfortunately, that won’t be enough for you to be able to win your case and get the money you have coming to you. You’re going to need solid evidence.
Sand Law attorneys know how to collect the proof our clients need to have the strongest cases possible. We use this proof to convince insurance companies to offer fair settlements. But if that settlement isn’t forthcoming, we use the evidence we gather in a court of law.
There are actually many different kinds of evidence that can prove your case. Here are some of the more important ones you’ll need.
Looking at the Damage to the Vehicles
One of the first things that any car accident victim should do after getting medical help – if they’re not too injured to do so – is to take photographs and videos of the damage done to both vehicles. An attorney will use this evidence to convince an insurance company that the accident was the fault of the tailgating driver.
Paying Attention to Skid Marks
Photos of skid marks will also be essential. The reason is that skid marks will show how quickly the tailgating driver hit their brakes. This could prove they were too close to the driver ahead of them, and caused the accident as a result.
There are many reasons why you need to get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can after being hurt in a car accident. Maybe the biggest is that evidence, such as skid marks, can vanish. Heavy rain could wash them away, and traffic could also make them disappear.
You might not have been able to take any photos of the accident scene because you were hurt too badly. If that’s the case, your attorney can begin a thorough investigation and get pictures of skid marks on your behalf.
Statements to the Police and From Witnesses
The police report, as well as witness statements, can be powerful pieces of evidence as well. Police officers routinely appear at the scene of an accident that results in an injury. They investigate that scene, and then fill out a report that will give their opinion of why it happened. That report will be vital to proving your case.
There’s also a pretty good chance someone saw the accident, and knows who was at fault. If possible, try to at least get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Your attorney can get in touch with them if you’re not able to record their statements.
Footage from Traffic and Security Cameras
If your accident took place on a busy street, more than likely a nearby camera has footage that will clearly show what happened. It could be a security camera positioned outside a convenience store, or on an office building. Your attorney can obtain the footage and see if it will help strengthen your case.
Injuries Associated with Tailgating Collisions
Tailgating accidents are oftentimes much more than minor fender-benders. They can result in severe injuries that can change a victim’s life forever. Here are just a few examples.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Chest injuries
- Bone fractures
- Back injuries
- And several more
It will be imperative that you obtain the medical attention you need if you’ve suffered any kind of injury due to the negligence of a tailgater.
Contact a Tailgating Accident Attorney in Minnesota
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a car accident attorney. Your legal representative will work to help you recover damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering and more.