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If I Rear-End Someone Who Brake Checks Me, Am I at Fault?

car accident fault california

We have all been in unfavorable driving situations, but what happens if you hit someone who slams on their brakes in front of you?

Determining Fault

Fault will usually be determined by the involved parties insurance companies who can assess something called “percentage of fault.”  Unfortunately, more often than not, the fault will be placed on the following driver for not traveling a safe distance behind the vehicle that brake checks.  This is called the Assured Clear Distance Ahead (ACDA) Rule, which required a drive leave a clear distance between his vehicle and anything in front of him.

Fortunately, there are some examples of rear end accidents that are the fault of the breaking car.  Fault can be placed on the lead vehicle when they are demonstrating negligence while driving.  Examples of this include:

  • The drive suddenly reverses into you
  • A driver slams on his brakes to make a turn, but does not complete the turn
  • The driver’s brake lights are not working properly

Brake Check Staged Accidents

It is an unfortunate reality that dishonest drivers exist, and will try to create accidents to claim damages against you.  If you are brake checked by a driver who suddenly swoops in front of you, and immediately brakes, this could be an example of a staged accident.  This is called the “Swoop and Squat” con.  Unfortunately, swoop and squat accidents are difficult to prove, and you will likely need to seek out the help of a vehicle accident attorney like Andrew Ritholz.

What to Do if You Rear End Someone

First things first, relax.  Accidents can be very chaotic, but panicking or resorting to anger will not improve the situation.  You may be angry that the driver hit his brakes too hard, but arguing will not help your case.  Calmly collect the other driver’s information, take photographs, and gather witness information – if possible.

Rear end collisions are incredibly common, but often carry complex liability issues.  The back and forth between insurers and drivers can be challenging, retaining a lawyer after an accident can provide assistance in these negotiations.

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