injured man holding neck looking onto car accident in background with blue car having crashed into black car

When drivers tailgate, they put themselves and anyone in the vehicles in front of them in grave danger. Tailgating accidents and other rear-end collisions in Huntsville often cause severe injuries and can take a significant toll on victims’ health and finances.

If a careless tailgater caused an accident that injured you in Huntsville, Alabama, you can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against them, demanding they pay for your medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses.

The Huntsville car accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., are ready to fight for maximum compensation for you. With nearly 60 years of experience to call on, we know what to expect from liable parties and their insurers, and we know how to get them to pay what they owe. That’s how we’ve recovered millions of dollars for injured people like you. Our firm is prepared to handle all the legal work in your case while you rest and focus on your medical treatment.

Ready to get started? Then contact us today for a free consultation with a tailgating accident lawyer in Huntsville, AL.

What Is Tailgating? What Types of Collisions Can It Cause?

Tailgating is when a driver follows so closely behind another vehicle that they cannot react in time to avoid a crash if the lead vehicle slows down suddenly.

Some Alabama drivers do not realize tailgating is against state law. The Code of Alabama requires that drivers follow any vehicle in front of them at a distance that is “reasonable and prudent.” The law goes on to say that, as a general rule, drivers should leave 20 feet of space for every 10 mph of speed. So, if you’re traveling at 50 mph, you should leave at least 100 feet between you and the car in front of you.

As you’d expect, the most common accidents caused by tailgating are rear-end collisions. That said, some other types of accidents tailgating can cause include:

  • Chain-reaction crashes – If a tailgating driver rear-ends someone in front of them on a crowded roadway, the vehicle in front might collide with another vehicle, leading to additional injuries and property damage.
  • Intersection crashes – If a tailgating driver rear-ends someone in front of them at a stop sign or traffic light, they might push that vehicle into the intersection, where it might get hit by another vehicle.
  • Angle crashes – If someone is turning and a tailgating driver hits them from behind, the angle of the impact might force them off the road, into oncoming traffic, or cause them to spin out, leading to a more serious wreck.

What Percentage of Accidents Result from Tailgating?

According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, tailgating caused about 14 percent of all crashes statewide during one recent year. For comparison, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that about 28 percent of all crashes nationwide in a recent year were rear-end collisions. While not all rear-end collisions are tailgating accidents, state and national data show that rear-end collisions are a significant safety issue for drivers.

Common Causes of Tailgating

A few common reasons people tailgate include:

  • Road rage – When drivers let their anger or frustration get the better of them, they might follow closely behind other drivers in front of them to antagonize them or force them to get out of the way.
  • Distracted driving – Drivers who become engrossed in talking on the phone, texting, or some other distraction might not realize how close they are to the car in front of them.
  • Speeding – A speeding driver might get dangerously close to the vehicle in front of them before they realize the potential threat, or they might not care about the risk of a collision.
  • Careless driving – General carelessness can cause people to tailgate if they don’t think about the potential risks involved or they aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing.
  • Aggressive driving – Overly aggressive drivers sometimes tailgate because they are looking for an opening to speed past someone in front of them. This reckless behavior increases the risk of a collision.

Common Types of Injuries from Tailgating Accidents

Common injuries from tailgating accidents in Huntsville include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Severed or crushed limbs
  • Soft-tissue injuries
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Neck and back injuries, including whiplash
  • Severe burns
  • Lacerations and puncture wounds
  • Emotional distress

Determining Liability After a Tailgating Car Accident

One common question in tailgating accident cases is whether the tailgating driver is always at fault for the crash. The tailgating driver is usually responsible for a crash, but not always. While state law requires Alabama drivers to follow at a safe distance behind other vehicles, drivers must also avoid slamming on the brakes for no reason or other dangerous behaviors that could cause a crash.

As an example of when a tailgating driver might not be at fault, suppose one car is following closely behind another vehicle on a crowded highway. The driver in front is annoyed with the driver behind them and suddenly applies the brakes, hoping the driver behind them backs off. Instead, the rear driver has no time to stop and hits the driver in front. In this scenario, the front driver would likely bear partial responsibility for the accident because they intentionally applied the brakes in an unsafe situation.

If you sustained injuries in a tailgating accident and are unsure who is to blame for the crash, talk to an attorney immediately.

Damages Available After a Tailgating Accident

The compensation you could recover after a tailgating accident depends on your injuries, your attorney, the available evidence, insurance coverage, and other factors. That said, it could include money for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages and reduced future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Damage to personal property

Contact Our Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers Now to Discuss Your Case

The team at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., understands the toll a tailgating accident can take, and we can help protect your rights after a collision. Call us today or visit our contact page to speak with our Huntsville car accident lawyers about your case.