Colorado Car Crashes Caused by Brake Checking
Learn how to prove fault and get
the compensation you deserve
Brake checking is a behavior that involves a driver hitting the brakes in an abrupt and sudden manner so that the other driver behind them is caught off-guard. At best, this results in mild annoyance on the part of the following driver. In a worst-case scenario, abruptly stomping on the brakes can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries for both parties.
Brake checking typically falls into the category of reckless driving, and anyone who engages in the behavior can be held accountable for the damages that occur during an accident. Rear-end accidents are the most common type of collision to occur after a brake-checking incident, but it’s also possible for the following driver to swerve into other lanes to avoid hitting the car from behind.
Who’s legally responsible for a brake-check accident?
While it might seem simple to blame the brake-checking driver for the accident, there can be some challenges with proving who was at fault. Most of the time, the car in the rear of an accident is blamed for the damages—since drivers should always be in control of their vehicles and stay a safe distance behind the car in front of them.
Yet, brake checking can also negatively impact drivers who aren’t following too close. Being involved in a brake-checking accident often requires working with an attorney who can look at the facts of your case to determine the best way to proceed with proving your claim.
How common are brake-check accidents in Colorado?
In Colorado, there were 23,735 rear-end crashes in 2022. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get accurate information regarding how many of these incidents are related to brake checking because most negligent parties won’t admit to engaging in this reckless behavior.
However, brake checking is likely to be responsible for at least some portion of these accidents. Most people who brake check are using the behavior as a misguided attempt to deal with their road rage, and they may have the desire to scare or even cause harm to the other driver, which they often do.
Potential legal consequences of brake checking
Stomping on the brakes might give a driver some type of satisfaction when they feel frustrated on the road, but it can also leave them facing serious criminal charges. In Colorado, reckless driving is defined as operating a vehicle in a manner that demonstrates a willful disregard for people’s safety.
On top of the usual traffic fines, those that are convicted of this crime can face penalties that include serving anywhere from 10 days to 6 months in a county jail for subsequent offenses.
Compensation through a personal injury lawsuit
If a person engages in aggressive driving practices that result in personal injuries, then that driver may also face civil damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
If you’re injured by a negligent driver in a brake-check accident, you may be entitled to these damages as well as others, depending on the circumstances of your case:
- Medical care costs, including emergency medical care, doctor appointments, surgeries, hospitalizations, medication, rehabilitation and medical devices
- Property damage
- Lost wages (if you are unable to work while you recover from your injuries)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
How to seek compensation after a car crash caused by reckless driving
Take the following steps after an accident to recover compensation:
- Call the police. You should always call the police after any accident involving recklessness. Their report can be beneficial in establishing fault.
- Collect evidence. If you or another person in your vehicle is unharmed, then it may be possible to immediately begin collecting evidence from the scene of the accident. For instance, witness statements and camera footage can be valuable resources when it comes to proving the other party’s negligence.
- Seek medical attention. You should always seek medical care for your injuries as soon as possible after an accident. If you wait to seek care, you risk your injuries getting worse, and you make it more difficult to prove they were caused by your accident.
- Contact an attorney. Since these types of cases often get complicated, it’s best to seek out legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced car accident attorney can help you gather evidence to prove fault and can negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you get maximum compensation.
How to prove negligence in a Colorado brake-check accident
Most states determine negligence in accidents by using a fault-based system. In Colorado, fault is determined through a comparative fault rule by which drivers are responsible for damages based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a judge or jury determined a driver was 10% at fault for their accident, their final compensation would be reduced by their percentage of fault, which in this case is 10%.
With brake checking cases, it’s common for the other party to try to reduce their percentage of fault by claiming that you were following too closely behind them to stop in time.
A car accident attorney will use all of the available resources to demonstrate the other party’s negligence in the case.
Dash cam footage is currently one of the best tools that they can use as evidence that you were following at an appropriate distance and were forced to react to the other driver slamming on their brakes. Often, the same footage may show the other party engaging in other forms of road rage, such as weaving in and out of traffic or making obscene gestures. If you lack a dash cam, then the information gathered at the scene can also help to prove what happened.
A tort is a legal term that refers to a wrongful act causing harm or injury to another. If you have suffered harm or injury due to someone else’s wrongful act, you may have a valid tort claim.
Contact a Colorado personal injury attorney
Dealing with another driver’s reckless care for human life is more than frustrating—it can result in long-term damages that include serious personal injuries and property damage. Seeking out the support of an experienced personal injury attorney gives you the legal knowledge you need to prove fault and recover compensation for your injuries.
At The Babcock Law Firm in Colorado, our experienced personal injury lawyers understand how overwhelming it can be to deal with insurance companies while you’re trying to recover from an injury. Let us handle the negotiations for you, so you’ll be confident you’re getting a settlement that is fair and timely. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose. Contact us today to see how we can help you.