Tailgating is risky behavior that often leads to accidents. In fact, it’s among the most common causes of rear-end collisions. At Salamati Law, our team of Los Angeles tailgating accident attorneys understands the many complex nuances of these types of crashes. If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision through no fault of your own, please contact us for a free consultation.

How close must a car be to be considered tailgating?

The general rule of thumb for maintaining a safe distance between cars is the three-second rule. When the forward vehicle passes a stationary object, such as a utility pole, at least three full seconds should pass before the following car passes that same stationary object. Of course, exceptions do apply. If there is inclement weather, poor visibility, heavy traffic, or other conditions that increase the potential for an accident, then drivers must leave more space. Drivers of large vehicles that require more stopping distance should exercise particular caution.

How can you tell if a car that rear-ended you was tailgating at the time? If you have to slam on your brakes to avoid a road hazard, the following car should have left enough distance to be able to stop in time to avoid hitting your car. However, if you do get rear-ended, then there’s a good chance they were tailgating you.

Who is at fault in a tailgating car accident in California?

Tailgating leads to rear-end collisions, in which the following car’s front bumper impacts the back bumper of the forward car. In a rear-end collision, the driver of the following vehicle is almost always found to be at fault for tailgating car accidents in Los Angeles. In addition, investigators can often determine if the following car was tailgating– by measuring tire tracks, reviewing traffic camera footage, and talking to eyewitnesses.

Only rarely is the driver of the lead car liable. For example, the driver is pulling out onto a busy roadway. If it wasn’t safe to pull out into the road because there wasn’t enough distance between cars, the lead driver could be considered liable for a rear-end collision.

What are the next steps after getting in a tailgating car accident?

Tailgating car accidents in California are common so it’s essential to know what to do. Unless your car has been completely totaled and is not capable of being driven, the first thing you should do is steer it to the side of the road to get out of harm’s way.

Then, check yourself and your passengers for injuries and call 911. You should also check the other car’s occupants for injuries and let the dispatcher know if an ambulance may be needed. Stay on the scene until the police arrive, take your statement, and clear you to leave. You will also need to exchange information with the other driver, including driver’s license and insurance information. Additionally, do the following:

  • Take notes about the accident, including what you were doing immediately before the crash, how fast you were driving, and exactly where it occurred.
  • Gather names and contact information from any eyewitnesses.
  • Make a note of the other car’s make, model, and color.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, including tire marks, damage to both vehicles, and damage to any nearby structures, if applicable.

Once you’re cleared to leave the scene, seek medical attention right away, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. Tailgating accidents are notorious for causing whiplash—a group of symptoms arising from damage to the neck’s soft tissues. One of the challenges with whiplash is that the symptoms may not develop for a day or two.

You should assume that you’re injured and seek a medical evaluation, which establishes a vital paper trail for your personal injury case. After seeking a doctor’s care, your next step is to call us at Salamati Law for further guidance and schedule a free case review.

Car tailgating accident lawyer in Los Angeles for a free consultation

In 1995, Salamati Law was founded to empower victims of car tailgating accidents and other types of crashes throughout Southern California. Since that time, our team of Los Angeles car accident lawyers has worked with countless victims and their families, securing millions in jury awards and settlements. Our legal team never shies away from the most complex, challenging cases. Call us today to schedule your free, no-obligation case review.