If you have been injured in an accident due to another driver following too closely, or tailgating, you may be owed compensation for your injuries. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 3,295 people were injured, and 13 people were killed in 2018 in Florida because a driver was following the car in front of them too closely. This behavior is negligent and dangerous, and can have devastating results.
The Bruner Law Firm is committed to holding negligent drivers financially responsible for the injuries they cause. You deserve to have an experienced tailgating attorney by your side every step of the way, to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available. Our solid history of client successes is evidence of our dedication to every case. Contact our award-winning attorneys today at (850) 769-9292 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re ready to hear your story and start building your case.
Why You Need a Lawyer
When you are rear-ended by another vehicle, it is common to assume that they are at fault for not stopping soon enough. While this is true in many cases, the other driver’s attorney will go to great lengths to prove that you were partially or even fully at fault. Without a skilled attorney yourself, you could lose the case and miss out on large amounts of compensation that you desperately need.
The 2019 Florida Statutes Chapter 316.0895 on following too closely simply states that a vehicle should follow at a “reasonable and prudent” distance. Since there could be many interpretations of what that means in various situations, you need an attorney who can not only interpret this and other applicable statutes, but also utilize their knowledge of similar previous lawsuits to build a strong case in your favor.
Why Choose Us
Our firm has been serving the people of Panama City and the surrounding communities since 1988. During this time, we have won millions of dollars in compensation for victims of car accidents, including many cases that involved tailgating.
Our attorneys have been recognized for their excellence by our peers and clients. Drew Bruner has earned an Avvo rating of 10 and received the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Our clients are highly satisfied with our great communication and the level of attention we give to each individual and family we work with. Since we have been part of the local community for decades, we consider each of our clients to be our friends and neighbors.
How Do Tailgating Accidents Happen?
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of crashes, and they are usually completely preventable. These accidents are most common at slow speeds and in heavy traffic, but they may occur at high speeds, as well. There are several behaviors and events that can lead to this type of accident.
Tailgating – Distracted and aggressive driving both play a huge role in tailgating accidents. When drivers are using a cell phone, eating, drowsy, or otherwise distracted, they may not be aware of how closely behind another vehicle they are driving. Some drivers intentionally drive closely behind another vehicle in an attempt to pass them or force them to speed up, which can be considered road rage. In any of these scenarios, when the first vehicle slows down or stops, the other driver will have difficulty stopping in time to avoid a rear-end collision.
Intoxication – When someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, they may have delayed reaction time, blurred vision, and poor judgment. Each of these factors increases their risk of causing an accident, including a rear-end collision. Driving under the influence is completely unacceptable, and chapter 316.193 of the Florida Statues specifies strict penalties for anyone who is caught driving while intoxicated.
Wet or Icy Road – Drivers have the responsibility to slow down and increase following distance when roads are slippery due to bad weather and poor road conditions. Failing to do this can cause a rear-end collision.
Being involved in a rear-end accident can cause injuries to anyone involved and can also be financially devastating. However, many drivers believe it is okay to engage in distractions or drive aggressively, without giving much thought to the potential consequences. Our attorneys will fight to hold a careless or aggressive driver financially responsible for your injuries.
Common Injuries from Tailgating Accidents
In a rear-end collision, the occupants of the vehicle that was hit from behind often receive more severe injuries than the vehicle that hit them. This is because, at the time of impact, the car accelerates and then decelerates very abruptly, causing the body and neck to move forward and backward in an unnatural way. Additionally, the impact may propel the vehicle forward or sideways into another vehicle, a concrete barrier, or another object, adding additional possibility for injury.
Some common injuries from rear-end collisions include:
- Head injuries
- Spine and nerve damage
- Broken bones
It is important to understand that some injuries, especially whiplash, do not show up right away after an accident. If you begin to notice headaches, numbness, or pain and stiffness in your back, neck, or shoulders, you should visit a doctor. These symptoms can set in several days after an accident but can indicate a serious problem that can worsen if left untreated.
Having documentation of your injuries from a medical provider is an important piece of evidence that is needed to build a strong case. If you wait too long to see a doctor, it may be difficult to prove that your injuries are from the tailgating accident and not some other event.
In order to hold another driver liable for your injuries, we will need to show that the accident was caused by their negligence. The four components of negligence we look at are:
- Duty – The at-fault driver had a duty to maintain a safe following distance that would allow them to stop if you slowed down or stopped.
- Breach of duty – The at-fault driver did not maintain a safe following distance or was engaged in some other aggressive behavior.
- Cause – The lack of following distance or the aggressive behavior was the cause of the accident.
- Harm – The injuries you sustained were a direct result of this accident (not preexisting or from some other event).
Florida is a “comparative negligence” state, as written in Chapter 768.81 of the 2019 Florida Statutes. This means that if you were also partly at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced based on the percentage you were at fault.
The other driver’s insurance company and their attorneys will work hard to find evidence that you were partially or even fully at fault to avoid having to compensate you. When you choose The Bruner Law Firm to handle your case, you can rest assured that we will use every resource available to build a strong case and fight for fair and full compensation for your injuries.
Multiple Liable Parties
Although many rear-end accidents only involve two vehicles where one or both drivers are at fault, there are a few unique cases where multiple parties could be potentially liable.
If there was a chain reaction of accidents with multiple vehicles involved, we will need to investigate which other drivers potentially contributed to the accident through their negligence.
If one of the vehicles was being driven for work at the time of the accident, their company may be liable instead of the driver. If the collision involved a commercial semitrailer or other truck, additional regulations regarding the following distance may apply, and there may be other liable parties in addition to the driver.
There are also rare situations where the accident was caused by something outside of the driver’s control. If bad road conditions contributed to the accident, our attorneys can investigate if perhaps the government entity that has jurisdiction of that road was negligent with repair or design of the road. Similarly, if a vehicle malfunction such as brake failure caused the accident, we will dig deeper to understand if a maintenance or manufacturing error caused the malfunction that led to the accident.
Types of Compensation
Regardless of how complicated or simple your situation is, we thoroughly investigate every aspect of each case we handle. Although many cases are settled before going to court, we believe it is important to prepare every case as if it were going to trial. This detailed approach is what helps us successfully secure compensation for so many of our clients.
Although we cannot guarantee a specific amount of compensation, here is an idea of some types of compensation you may be owed:
- Current and future medical bills
- Physical therapy or other rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
If you have gone through the heartbreaking experience of losing a loved one in a rear-end accident, you may be owed compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of future earnings, and loss of companionship.
Contact a Panama City Tailgating Accident Attorney
Being involved in a car accident can suddenly turn your world upside down. Let us take care of the complicated legal matters and negotiations with insurance companies so you can focus on recovering physically and emotionally from the accident.
Contact The Bruner Law Firm today by starting an online chat, filling out a contact form, or by calling us at (850) 769-9292.