Who is Liable in a Brake Checking Accident? | Staver
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Who is Liable in a Brake Checking Accident?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury

Whenever you encounter someone who’s driving dangerously on the road, whether that’s tailgating or swerving erratically, you might not know what to do. Road rage is becoming a greater concern throughout Illinois. The Illinois State Police said there was an increase in expressway shootings around Chicago from 2021 to 2022, all related to road rage.

Brake checking is another outcome of road rage, and it presents a challenge to those affected: who shares responsibility for a collision caused by brake checking, and who should have to pay?

What is Brake Checking?

Brake checking is an illegal maneuver that can have deadly consequences. Someone might brake check another driver by slamming on their brakes abruptly, causing the vehicle to drastically lose speed. This sudden stop may cause a chain reaction with drivers following that first car.

Brake checking is different from emergency stops. It’s nearly always a retaliatory action, taken when one driver feels the need to be aggressive toward another driver. Someone may decide that they don’t like how another person is speeding or tailgating them. That driver may decide to take matters into their own hands and slam on the brakes to teach the tailgater a lesson. That brake check could lead to deadly consequences.

Who Is Responsible for Brake Check Accidents?

Although it isn’t named outright, brake checking does fall under Illinois’s road rage law. Anyone who intentionally drives their vehicle in a way that may endanger someone else on the road could be accused of road rage. Not only is it a dangerous act, but a brake-checking incident could also carry criminal consequences.

In most rear-end collisions, the driver behind the first car is held responsible for any injuries or damages. However, in a rear-end accident where the first driver suddenly stopped out of road rage, most of the liability could fall on this brake checker. They operated outside their duty of care, and you were hurt as a result.

But just because they share part of the blame for the brake check damage doesn’t mean you’re completely without fault. Illinois follows “comparative negligence” laws: any compensation you receive from a personal injury claim can be reduced based on the amount of fault you share for the accident. So if you were tailgating or speeding before the accident, the defendant might claim you share at least some of the fault for your injuries.

Injuries Caused by Brake Check Accidents

Car accidents can cause a variety of injuries, which may cause mild discomfort or could severely disrupt your life. Brake check accidents are like other rear-end collisions: the drivers and any passengers involved could experience jolts from the change in momentum the crash causes.

Common injuries associated with rear-end collisions include:

  • Whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Face and eye injuries
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones

These injuries can affect your daily quality of life, either temporarily or permanently. For instance, nerve damage from a spinal cord injury could limit your mobility. You may require a mobility aid so you can live independently. If someone’s reckless driving caused your injuries, you are entitled to compensation.

Damages Available in Brake Check Car Accidents

Under Illinois personal injury laws, you are entitled to seek compensation after an injury accident if someone’s negligence caused your damages. You can pursue an insurance claim to cover your medical costs and damage to your property.

To recover compensation to cover the extent of your damages, you may need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This lawsuit will cover your economic and non-economic losses. Your economic losses are your out-of-pocket damages, your medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.

Your non-economic losses are the costs created by your economic losses. These are conceptual damages created because you suffered injuries in a car accident. These can include your pain and suffering caused by your physical injuries or your diminished quality of life. For instance,  you might not be able to indulge in your hobbies like you could before the accident.

Challenges in Brake Check Claims

There could be several reasons your claim is challenged after a brake check accident. Like other personal injury claims, the defendant might assert that you contributed to the accident, so you share some responsibility for your damages. This can limit your pay out.

They may claim you were speeding or following too closely, so you didn’t have time to brake when they stopped suddenly.

They may also claim they had a legitimate reason to brake suddenly, such as a sudden hazard ahead of them.

If the defendant argues you were also engaging in reckless activity, you’ll need to show you were following the law and they hold most of the responsibility for your damages.

What Evidence Can Show Fault in a Brake Checking Accident?

Evidence is a critical piece of your personal injury claim. You’re trying to show the defendant was acting recklessly, and that their actions caused your injuries directly. If your case goes to court, you’ll have to convince the jury that the defendant is at fault for your damages and that you deserve compensation for your losses.

There is a variety of evidence that will help your claim, including:

  • Police reports
  • Medical bills and other medical documents
  • Witness testimony
  • Video or photographic proof
  • Damage report or repair bills
  • Physical evidence from the scene

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

A personal injury lawyer is one of your best assets when you file an insurance claim. Even though you could handle the situation alone, you stand a much better of chance of getting the compensation you deserve after a crash when you work with an experienced attorney.

Although this might be an extraordinary situation for you, a Chicago personal injury lawyer will have experience handling cases like yours. They’ll be able to offer you guidance through your legal options, and help you decide how best to approach your claim. Your attorney can help you gather evidence, build a case, file paperwork, handle negotiations, and go to court. They know how insurance companies react to claims, and they’ll make sure you don’t get a bad deal.

Call a Chicago Brake Check Accident Lawyer Today

Brake check accidents can be deadly or annoying, but at the end of the day, you’re still facing damages and injuries. A personal insurance claim is your best chance at getting compensation for your losses that someone else caused. The Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., understand that you’re looking for help, and we’re ready to hear your case.

We’ve helped clients in similar circumstances recover millions over the years, and we’re prepared to use our experience to your benefit. Brake checking is dangerous, and we want to hold those responsible for your losses accountable.

Call (312) 236-2900 or use our contact form to get started with your free consultation with a Chicago car accident lawyer.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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