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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 motorist abruptly slows or stops their vehicle, generally with the aim of colliding with the trailing vehicle. The rapid nature of brake checks can catch other drivers off guard, resulting in rear-end crashes and potentially causing major vehicle damage and occupant injuries. These accidents are not only dangerous, but they also raise complex legal and insurance issues involving liability and compensation for damages.

Common scenarios where they occur

This conduct is commonly displayed in circumstances of road rage, irritation, or as payback for perceived aggressive driving behavior by the trailing vehicle. Brake checking can also occur when a motorist plans to cause a collision to receive money from the insurance company by making a claim.

Causes of Brake Checking Accidents

Brake-checking accidents can be attributed to various factors, often rooted in the behavior and actions of drivers. Two significant causes include:

Distracted Driving as a Cause:

Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. This can involve texting or talking on the phone, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio, or simply daydreaming. When a motorist is distracted, they may fail to maintain a consistent pace or react effectively to changing traffic circumstances, increasing the chance of unexpected braking maneuvers that can result in rear-end collisions.

Tailgating and Aggressive Driving Behaviors:

Tailgating is when you drive too close behind another car, leaving insufficient stopping distance in case of an abrupt braking. Aggressive driving practices such as tailgating, frequent lane changes, speeding, and weaving in and out of traffic can foster a hostile and competitive environment on the road. In response to perceived aggressive behavior by the trailing car, the leading driver may use brake checking to show authority or retaliate, increasing the chance of collision.

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 crashes caused by brake checks can result in whiplash, which is a common injury characterized by rapid jerking of the head and neck.
  2. Concussions and Head Injuries: The force of impact in a rear-end collision can cause concussions and other head injuries, particularly if occupants smash their heads against the interior of the vehicle.
  3. Spine Injuries: Severe rear-end collisions can cause spine injuries ranging from ruptured discs to vertebral fractures, which can lead to long-term incapacity or paralysis.
  4. Property Damage: The force of the accident can cause significant damage to the automobiles involved, such as dented bumpers, crushed fenders, and misaligned frames, necessitating costly repairs or possibly 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?

Determining the precise frequency of brake-checking incidents in New York City can be difficult due to differences in reporting and data collection methodologies. However, brake checking occurrences are not commonplace in heavily populated urban places such as New York City, where traffic congestion and aggressive driving are typical.

While specific statistics on brake checking accidents may vary, rear-end collisions are among the most common types of accidents reported in NYC, and many of these collisions may involve instances of brake checking.

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

The penalties for causing a brake checking accident in New York City vary according to the circumstances of the collision, the severity of the injuries or damages, and the driver’s activities before the accident. 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 have been involved in a brake-checking accident in New York City, contact Greenberg & Stein for skilled legal assistance. Greenberg & Stein’s experienced attorneys, who have a demonstrated track record of success in handling personal injury cases, particularly those involving motor vehicle accidents, are committed to assisting clients in obtaining the compensation they deserve for their injuries and damages. Call us at 212-681-2535 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.

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