Jill Kolodner | September 21, 2022 | Car Accidents
There’s nothing as annoying as congested lines, rush-hour traffic, and sitting and waiting behind a long line of vehicles. In these situations, drivers often feel the temptation to “brake check” or sharply hit the brakes while driving. Sometimes people do this to avoid an accident, and other times they do it out of an act of road rage, which puts them and others at risk of a serious accident.
Most drivers have probably engaged in a brake check at one time or another, and even more drivers have engaged in road rage. Brake checking is actually quite dangerous and often leads to rear-end collisions.
When a driver brake checks, they intentionally apply the brakes, and this causes the other drivers behind them to take evasive action to avoid a collision. Sometimes crashes undoubtedly happen as well as significant damages.
Brake checking car accidents have been a growing issue in the U.S. and leads to injuries every day. If you want to learn more about brake checking or if you’ve been involved in a brake-checking car accident in Baltimore, this guide will be particularly helpful.
The Illegality of Brake Checking
Brake checking is illegal in Baltimore. It is often a result of reckless driving, which is an offense under Section 21-901.1 of the Maryland Code. This rule stipulates that if a person drives a motor vehicle without regard for the safety and health of others and property, they are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
To explain further, it is illegal and actually quite reckless for the driver to sharply apply the brakes in this way. These incidents often provoke the other driver to apply brakes or maneuver to avoid a collision. In most cases, brake checking is a result of aggressive driving, road rage, or a crash for cash scheme in which someone forces the other driver to crash as a way to defraud the insurance company. These accidents are dangerous and often result in soft tissue damage, back or spinal cord injuries, or even traumatic brain injuries.
Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Involving Brake Checking in Baltimore?
There is a misconception that the rear driver will be held liable for a car accident, but that’s not always the case. Furthermore, if the driver at the front has a broken brake light, is negligent, or stops midway without warnings, they can also be held responsible. And in some cases, both parties could be held liable for the accident.
Regardless of who is at fault, all drivers must follow safety rules, and they must drive a reasonable distance from the car in front of them. They must also signal 200 feet before stopping to abide by Maryland law.
In the aftermath of a brake checking accident, the most pressing issue is compensation. Maryland follows the standard of contributory negligence, which means if the plaintiff has even slightly contributed to the accident, they will not be eligible to get compensation from the defendant. If both parties are liable, they will not be able to receive compensation from each other but can contact their insurance companies for compensation.
What To Do If You Have Been Involved in a Brake Checking Accident
Here are some quick tips regarding what you should do and not do after a brake-checking car accident.
- Do not admit fault. Do not apologize to the other driver.
- Ask for the other driver’s name and insurance information.
- Once the police arrive, calmly explain your version of events.
- Collect evidence like photos and surveillance videos, and make videos through your cell phone showing skid marks and the vehicle’s condition after the accident.
- Talk to eyewitnesses about the driver’s action and how the collision happened.
- Seek medical help.
You may also reach out to a car accident attorney for advice on how to proceed.
Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer May Help Your Case
Filing and winning a brake checking car accident lawsuit is no easy feat in a state like Maryland. This state adheres to doctrines such as contributory negligence, which can sometimes be unfair to victims who have just made a small driving error. Due to the burden of proof resting on the victim of a brake checking accident, the victim must make a strong case with a thorough investigation into every aspect of the accident.
For the best chance of success in defending your case, you need to have an experienced attorney representing you. Not only will they evaluate your case, but they’ll also provide you with competent legal counsel.