What to Do if a Tailgater Hits You | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC Hurt in a Car? Call KNR.
Also known as ‘following too closely,’ drivers may not leave enough room to stop, If you are hit, you'll need to know what comes next.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
June 3, 2023

Following too closely is one of Ohio’s most common causes of car accidents. Drivers who fail to leave enough stopping distance can result in critical and life-threatening injuries.

Although many rear-end collisions caused by tailgating can be considered minor, those involved in such accidents know the impact of these crashes. If you have been hit by someone tailgating, understanding what to do next is crucial to avoid being stuck covering the costs and hold the correct party accountable for their negligent driving.

What is Tailgating?

Tailgating is when motorists fail to maintain a safe stopping distance. Also known as ‘following too closely,’ drivers may not have enough time to stop and avoid rear-ending the vehicle if the leading car is forced to use its brakes suddenly.

According to the NHTSA, in most cases (depending on their speed) motorists should leave at least four seconds of stopping distance between vehicles. Although rear-end collisions have a reputation for being minor, tailgating collisions routinely cause severe injuries. Some examples of rear-end injuries include:

What to Do After a Tailgating Accident

Immediately after a tailgating accident, you must get the help you need to avoid worsening medical issues and build a powerful case against the liable party from the start.

Here’s what to do immediately after your tailgating collision:

  • Call 911, and emergency responders
  • Get medical attention and care
  • While waiting for healthcare providers to arrive, document the accident scene
  • Consult a tailgating accident lawyer to explore your legal options
  • Notify the insurance company of your injuries and damages
  • Calculate the value of your claim with your attorney
  • Have your personal injury attorney negotiate with the insurance company
  • Present your tailgating case at trial if your insurance settlement is insufficient

Who’s at Fault & Who’s Liable for a Tailgating Accident

Establishing liability is crucial in a tailgating car accident. Drivers who fail to use  reasonable care or maintain a safe stopping distance should be held accountable. Since the rear driver is often found liable, you can work with your attorney to file a claim with their insurance company or bring your case to trial.

Just because a driver hit you from behind does not mean they are necessarily liable for your injuries. They might have had a sudden medical emergency. If there was a mechanical defect, other parties could also share the blame for your injuries.

While the vehicle that hits you from behind is often at fault for a tailgating accident, it is important to note that you could share liability for a rear-end collision. If you were driving under the speed limit, made a sudden and unexpected lane change, were operating your vehicle without proper lighting, or were otherwise violating traffic laws, your settlement could be reduced under Ohio’s modified comparative negligence laws.

Rear-End Accident Damages & Compensation

When you have been involved in a tailgating accident, you have the right to compensation for every loss. Some examples of your recoverable economic and non-economic damages could include:

  • Car repairs
  • Loss of income
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Wage related losses
  • Personal property damages
  • Current and future healthcare costs

Remember, if you are partially liable for your injuries, your settlement will be affected under Ohio’s comparative negligence laws. You could expect your settlement to reflect a deduction that correlates with your percentage of the blame. For example, if you are 5% responsible for your injuries due to a failure to wear your seatbelt, your settlement will be reduced by 5% accordingly.

Get Legal Assistance ASAP

Having a legal advocate working for you is crucial after a tailgating accident. Although it may seem obvious who the liable party is, you can expect the insurance company and accused to fight back.

While you heal from your injuries, your lawyer will investigate, establish negligence, obtain powerful supporting evidence, and negotiate with the insurer. This way, your rights and compensation are protected.

Call KNR for Help.

When a driver following too closely strikes you from behind, you have the right to compensation for your damages. Getting the most out of your claim is crucial if you hope to hold the liable party accountable and avoid covering the costs of their negligence.

With help from an experienced Ohio injury lawyer at KNR, you can get the max possible. Contact us at 1-800-HURT-NOW. Initial consults are 100% free, and there’s no fee unless you recover compensation.