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Tailgating is the common term for driving following too closely behind another driver, and in extreme forms, can constitute aggressive driving. When a driver fails to exercise caution and provide enough space between vehicles, the unfortunate result may be a rear-end collision. Generally, those drivers who tailgate another car may be held legally accountable for the harm they cause, including monetary compensation to victims of the collision. At Gelb & Gelb, Washington, D.C. car accident attorney Roger Gelb personally represents injured victims in their claims for damages. Unlike other firms where clients may be directed to paralegals or other staff, Mr. Gelb speaks directly with clients throughout the course of his representation. Injured individuals and their families rely on Attorney Gelb to help them pursue full compensation for their harm, and the firm has successfully settled, arbitrated, or litigated thousands of personal injury lawsuits, primarily vehicle collision cases. Mr. Gelb and the team at Gelb & Gelb have recovered over one-hundred million dollars for clients throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.Drivers Who Cause Tailgating Accidents May be Held Legally Accountable
Tailgating is dangerous because it does not provide enough time or space for the tailgating driver to slow down and avoid a crash. Following too closely may also cause the driver in front to feel intimidated, leading to further unsafe driving. Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. maintain laws that require drivers to maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles. These laws also require that drivers consider the speed of nearby vehicles, as well as other traffic and road conditions, when determining a safe following distance. If a tailgating accident takes place, the victim may pursue a negligence lawsuit for damages.Proving Negligence
All drivers owe others a duty to avoid causing harm, and this includes maintaining a safe driving distance on the road. Motorists’ duty of care also includes paying proper attention to the road, avoiding conduct that can potentially cause harm, and adjusting their behavior for road conditions.
Tailgating may be deemed negligent conduct because it breaches the duty of care by failing to account for necessary driving space between vehicles. If tailgating causes the following vehicle to crash into the first vehicle, this will likely meet the causation element of a negligence claim. Causation is necessary to show that another intervening cause did not lead to the collision.
As the final element of a negligence claim, damages and harm suffered in a crash must be established. Wages missed due to injuries may be recovered by successful plaintiffs. Medical expenses including hospitalization and rehabilitation costs can also be recovered. Victims are entitled to recover property damage costs, which can be high in a tailgating accident. Emotional pain and suffering are also included in a damages claim. For injured individuals that require future medical treatment, or modifications to their home to accommodate accident-caused disabilities, these costs may be compensated as well.Statute of Limitations
For all personal injury claims, it is important to abide by the statute of limitations. This is a mandatory time limit that dictates the period within which a claim for compensation must be filed. A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to advise injured individuals with regard to preserving their right to bring a claim for compensation within this time frame.Contributory Negligence
As a defense to a claim for compensation, a successful allegation of contributory negligence bars the victim from recovering damages. The District of Columbia follows the contributory negligence doctrine. This doctrine holds that if the victim of a crash is slightly responsible for the accident, they will not recover compensation. An insurer may attempt to shift blame to a plaintiff, even if they are only 1% responsible for the accident.Car Accident Attorney Helping People in the Washington, D.C. Area
If you suffered injuries in a collision caused by a tailgating driver, experienced injury lawyer Roger Gelb can potentially help. Together with the team at Gelb & Gelb, Attorney Gelb helps his clients seek full compensation for their losses from all responsible parties. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights, call our office at (202) 331-7227 or contact us online. We advocate for people throughout Washington, D.C., VA, and MD.