Every vehicle takes a different amount of time and distance to stop fully. When a driver is operating a motor vehicle, it is crucial to ensure that there is enough space between the driver and the driver in front of them. If the driver in front brakes suddenly, the tailgating driver to the rear is likely to rear-end the other driver. Rear-ending can result in serious injuries when it occurs at high speeds. At Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP, our skillful New York City car accident lawyers may be able to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit if you are a victim of a tailgating accident.Tailgating Accidents Cause Serious Injuries
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1129 provides that all drivers need to leave enough space between their own vehicle and the vehicle ahead of them so that another car could safely occupy that space. Somebody who does not leave that amount of space can be cited for tailgating. The New York DMV's Driver Manual suggests that drivers permit two seconds of space between themselves and the cars in front of them.
If you are injured as a result of another driver's tailgating, you should contact the police. They may cite the driver for tailgating, and this citation can be useful evidence of negligence. To establish negligence, you will need to show that the tailgater owed you a duty to use reasonable care, breached that duty, and in so doing, caused your injuries.
Even if they are cited for tailgating, the other driver may try to claim that you braked very suddenly or were otherwise to blame for the accident. New York follows the rule of comparative negligence. This rule requires the jury to evaluate the total damages and assign percentages of fault. It is, perhaps, less likely that a front driver was negligent than a tailgater, but there may be some instances in which a jury will assign the front driver a percentage of fault. For example, if you did not maintain your car, and your rear brake lights were out, you might be assigned a percentage of fault. If the total damages are $100,000, and you are found 20% at fault, while the tailgater is 80% at fault, you may be able to recover $80,000 from the tailgater.
The damages that your lawyer may be able to recover include economic and noneconomic losses. The amount of damages can vary dramatically depending on the actual injuries sustained. The damages may include medical expenses, household services, lost wages, medical equipment, alterations to your home, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.
If the tailgater was driving drunk, and their behavior was wanton or reckless, it may be possible to recover punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are those that are awarded to punish and deter drivers. In a 2015 rear-end car crash case, for instance, a defendant driver was arrested at the scene and charged with driving while intoxicated. He pled guilty. The woman whom he rear-ended was awarded $160,000 for her neck injury and $70,000 in punitive damages in her civil personal injury lawsuit. She argued that his blood alcohol test came back with two times the legal limit of alcohol, and his behavior was so outrageous that it should be found to be wanton and reckless behavior. These awards were affirmed on appeal.Retain an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in New York City
Tailgating can be frightening for the person in the car ahead of the tailgater. Sometimes it is possible for the driver of the front car to move to another lane to avoid an aggressive tailgater, but sometimes traffic is such that the front driver is trapped, and it is not safe to do so. After a tailgating accident in New York City, you may be dealing with serious injuries. It is crucial to secure knowledgeable legal representation so that you can recover damages as appropriate. Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP provides effective legal representation for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Call our attorneys at 718-896-2700 or complete our online form for an appointment. We represent victims in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island.