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Understanding Brake Checking Accidents: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention

Brake-checking accidents represent a substantial risk on the road, resulting in physical harm, property damage, and legal consequences. This blog post delves into the complexities of brake checking incidents, including their causes, effects, and preventive strategies.

Understanding Brake Checking Accidents: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention

What are Brake Checking Accidents?

Definition of Brake Checking Accidents

Brake-checking incidents occur when a driver abruptly slows or stops their vehicle, often with the intention of causing a collision. These sudden maneuvers can lead to rear-end crashes, resulting in significant vehicle damage and injuries. Besides the immediate danger, they also pose complex legal and insurance challenges concerning liability and compensation.

Drivers often display this behavior in instances of road rage, irritation, or retaliation for perceived aggressive driving by the following vehicle. Brake-checking may also occur when a driver intends to cause a collision to file an insurance claim for monetary gain.

Causes of Brake Checking Accidents

Drivers’ behavior and actions often underlie brake-checking accidents.Two significant causes include:

Distracted Driving as a Cause:

Distracted driving encompasses any activity diverting a driver’s focus from the primary task of driving. This includes texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the radio, or daydreaming. Such distractions can lead to unexpected braking, heightening the risk of rear-end collisions.

Tailgating and Aggressive Driving Behaviors:

Tailgating occurs when you follow too closely behind another vehicle, leaving inadequate stopping distance in case of sudden braking. Speeding and frequent lane changes also contribute to road aggression. Brake-checking, typically in response to perceived aggression, can escalate collision risks.

Consequences of Brake Checking Accidents

Brake-checking accidents can have significant consequences, both in terms of physical injuries and property damage, as well as legal implications and liability.

Physical Injuries and Property Damage:

  1. Whiplash and Neck Injuries: Rear-end collisions from brake checks often result in whiplash, characterized by rapid jerking of the head and neck.
  2. Concussions and Head Injuries: The impact force in rear-end collisions can cause concussions and head injuries, especially if occupants strike their heads against the vehicle’s interior.
  3. Spine Injuries: Severe rear-end crashes can lead to spine injuries like ruptured discs or vertebral fractures, potentially causing long-term incapacity or paralysis.
  4. Property Damage: Brake-check collisions can cause significant automobile damage, including dented bumpers, crushed fenders, and misaligned frames, often requiring costly repairs or even totaling the vehicles.

Legal Implications and Liability:

  1. Determining Fault: Establishing liability in brake-checking incidents can be difficult since it requires determining which motorist was careless or reckless leading up to the collision. Following distance, speed, and driving behavior are all factors that may contribute to fault determination.
  2. Insurance Claims: Both parties involved in the collision can file insurance claims to cover medical expenditures and car repairs. New York is a no-fault state. This means that each driver has to submit a claim with their own insurer to get compensation for their medical expenses. Nonetheless, if the losses exceed the policy coverage, the drivers can file a claim against the at-fault driver. Unfortunately, since determining fault is complicated, many drivers may face several difficulties in getting the compensation they deserve.
  3. Legal Action: In circumstances of serious injuries or contested liability, affected parties may sue the at-fault driver for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. Drivers who are wrongfully accused of brake checking, on the other hand, may require legal representation to defend themselves against baseless allegations.
  4. Criminal Charges: In circumstances of extreme carelessness or purposeful wrongdoing, such as brake checking with the aim of inflicting injury, the at-fault driver may face criminal charges, including reckless driving or assault with a dangerous weapon.

How common are brake checking accidents in New York City?

Quantifying brake-checking frequency in NYC is challenging due to reporting variations. Yet, such incidents are uncommon in densely populated urban areas like NYC, known for traffic congestion and aggressive driving.

While statistics on brake-checking accidents may vary, rear-end collisions rank among the most reported accidents in NYC, with many involving brake-check instances.

What are the penalties for causing a brake checking accident in NYC?

Penalties for brake-checking accidents in NYC vary based on collision specifics and injury severity. Some potential sanctions could include:

  • Traffic charges: If a driver is determined to have engaged in reckless or aggressive driving behavior, such as brake checking, they may face traffic charges under New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. This can lead to fines, points on their driver’s license, and perhaps license suspension or revocation.
  • Civil Liability: The at-fault driver may be financially liable for any injuries or property damage caused by the brake checking accident. This may include paying for medical bills, vehicle repairs, missed earnings, and other expenditures paid by the injured person.
  • Criminal penalties: If the driver’s acts are considered extremely egregious or purposeful, they may face penalties such as reckless endangerment, assault, or vehicular manslaughter. Convictions on these counts can result in substantial fines, imprisonment, and other legal punishments.
  • Insurance Repercussions: Drivers held guilty for causing a brake checking accident may face an increase in their auto insurance premiums or perhaps cancellation of their coverage, depending on their insurer’s regulations and the severity of the occurrence.
  • Civil Lawsuits: In addition to any criminal penalties or traffic citations, the at-fault motorist may face civil lawsuits from affected parties demanding damages. This may result in further financial fines and legal fees for the defendant.

Overall, the penalties for causing a brake checking accident in New York City can be harsh and have long-term ramifications for the motorist, emphasizing the significance of safe and responsible driving conduct on the road.

Do dashcams help in proving brake checking incidents?

Yes, dashcams can be quite useful in demonstrating brake check incidents since they provide visual evidence of the events leading up to the crash. Dashcam film can record the actions of both the leading and trailing vehicles, including any unexpected braking or aggressive driving habits. This footage can be used to establish the sequence of events, assess fault, and provide critical evidence in insurance claims, judicial hearings, and law enforcement investigations. Furthermore, dashcam film can verify eyewitness testimony and provide an objective account of the situation, making it an effective tool for documenting and demonstrating brake checking instances.

Why You Need a New York City Attorney

Importance of Legal Representation:

Legal assistance is essential for persons engaged in brake-checking incidents in New York City to safeguard their rights and comprehend the complex personal injury law. An expert attorney can provide vital counsel throughout the legal process, including accident investigation, evidence collection, insurance company negotiations, and, if necessary, court representation. 

Qualities to Look for in an Attorney:

When looking for legal representation for a brake-checking accident in New York City, there are certain qualities to look for in an attorney. First and foremost, search for a lawyer who has handled personal injury cases, especially those involving motor vehicle accidents and traffic legislation.

Additionally, look for an attorney who is familiar with New York’s laws and regulations, as well as local court procedures. Communication skills, sensitivity, and a willingness to advocate for the client’s best interests are all important characteristics to look for in an attorney.

Suffered Brake Checking Accident in NY? Contact Greenberg & Stein for Expert Legal Help:

If you’ve experienced a brake-checking accident in New York City, reach out to Greenberg & Stein for expert legal support. Our seasoned attorneys specialize in personal injury cases, including motor vehicle accidents, ensuring clients receive rightful compensation for injuries and damages. Call 212-681-2535 for a free consultation.