Car Accidents Caused by Brake Checking in Texas
September 7, 2023 | Car Accidents
The reasons for brake checking can range from a teenage prank to full-on road rage. Whatever the cause for engaging in brake checking, however, one thing is clear: this driving practice is dangerous and adds to the rate of Texas car accidents.
All Texas drivers should be aware of what brake checking is and what to do when it causes an accident. If another driver’s brake check leads to a crash, a Texas car accident lawyer can help you fight to hold them accountable for the damage.
What Is Brake Checking, and Why Is It Dangerous?
Brake checking is the practice of intentionally slamming on the brakes without warning. Some drivers engage in braking checking as a joke. Teen drivers, in particular, are often found guilty of performing this dangerous driving practice.
More often, brake checking is implemented as a road rage strategy. An angry driver might slam on the brakes to warn a following driver to back off or slow down. In some cases, a driver might use brake checking to try and cause an accident so that they have grounds to file an insurance claim.
Whatever the reason for brake checking, it’s nearly always dangerous and increases the risk of an accident. Drivers expect to see brake lights when coming up on congested traffic or an intersection.
No one expects the car in front to suddenly slam on the brakes for no apparent reason. Brake checking often results in an accident because the use of brakes by the driver ahead is usually unexpected and unnecessary.
Is Brake Checking Illegal in Texas?
Once you understand how to identify brake checking, your next question is probably, “Is brake checking illegal in Texas?” The answer is yes. However, Texas laws don’t explicitly refer to brake checking. Instead, brake checking is considered an instance of reckless driving.
Brake checking is considered to be illegal under the Texas Transportation Code, which forbids driving in a way that exhibits “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Under this law, brake checking can be a driving offense that brings consequences such as:
- Misdemeanor charges
- A fine of up to $200
- Jail time of up to 30 days
These laws state that a person can be found guilty of brake checking on roads, highways, and parking lots available to patrons of a business.
Why You Should Call a Lawyer After a Brake-Checking Accident
One of the most important reasons drivers need to be aware of brake checking as an illegal practice is because of how liability is determined in a Texas car accident. Brake checking puts you into a driving situation that causes you to collide with the rear of the braking driver’s car.
Unless you can prove that the accident had special circumstances, Texas law usually deems the driver who made the impact to be at fault for the accident. As a result, if you’re involved in a brake-checking accident, the driver who did the brake-checking will be seen as innocent unless you can provide evidence to the contrary.
How Texas Car Accident Liability Impacts Compensation
Texas is an at-fault state that follows “modified comparative negligence” rules. This means that the driver who caused the crash is responsible for paying for the damage. It also means that if both drivers contributed to the accident, you can still recover compensation if you can prove that the other driver was more than half responsible for the crash.
These rules are highly relevant to brake-checking accidents. Since the driver who made contact is usually assumed to be at fault, the other driver can simply claim that you were following them too closely. However, if you can prove that they purposefully engaged in brake checking, you shift the majority of the responsibility onto them.
Proving fault in any accident can be a challenge, but it’s often particularly difficult in a brake-checking accident. When another driver intentionally brake checks you, resulting in a crash, you need a lawyer on the case to work on proving that the other driver was at fault.
What To Do After a Texas Brake-Checking Accident
The steps you take after a Texas brake-checking accident have an immediate impact on your finances. If you’re found at fault for the crash, you can be left paying out-of-pocket for your own injuries and vehicle damage while your insurance policy pays damages to the other driver.
That’s hardly a fair outcome when the other driver intentionally brake-checked you. Proving brake checking can be a challenge. But if you can manage it, you can hold the other driver responsible for the crash.
After a Texas brake-checking accident, you should:
- Never admit to following too closely
- Never apologize or get angry
- Get the contact information of any eyewitnesses
- File a police report
- Get checked by a doctor
- Call a car accident lawyer before you speak with the insurance company
A Texas car accident lawyer’s chances of successfully helping you recover compensation increase considerably if you follow these simple steps. Because of how the vehicles collide in a brake-checking accident, both drivers are at risk of sustaining certain types of injuries, like whiplash or a spinal cord injury. These types of injuries significantly increase the amount of money that’s at stake in an insurance claim.
A lawyer will immediately try to locate traffic camera footage and secure any witness testimony that can help prove the other driver was acting recklessly. It can be tempting to confront the other driver for causing a brake-checking accident, but it’s generally best to say as little as possible until you consult a lawyer.
Fight Back After a Brake-Checking Accident
You shouldn’t be left with the bill after another driver intentionally causes a crash. Unfortunately, Texas laws around liability mean that, in many cases, that’s the outcome of a brake-checking accident.
Protecting yourself after a Texas car accident means watching what you say, getting witness information, and consulting a Texas car accident lawyer as soon as possible.