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Who Is At-Fault in an Accident Caused by Brake Checking?

Colburn Law

Driving is an everyday activity that is generally considered safe, but it does not take much to turn a routine drive into a dangerous one. One such example is a brake check accident, which can be caused by sudden and unexpected braking maneuvers while driving. 

Accidents caused by brake checking can be frustrating, scary, and dangerous. If you are involved in a brake check accident, it is important to understand who is at fault and what steps you should take next. If the other driver is found liable, you could hold him or her accountable for any damages that you have suffered.

What Is Brake Checking?

What Is Brake Checking?

Brake checking is a dangerous driving maneuver that involves a driver hitting their brakes suddenly and unexpectedly in front of another vehicle. This maneuver is often used as an act of aggression, road rage, or to teach a lesson to another driver. However, brake checking can cause a rear-end collision or multi-vehicle accidents that can result in serious injuries or death.

Liability in Washington Brake Check Accidents

Washington is a fault state, so whoever caused the accident would be liable for the victim’s damages. When it comes to brake check accidents, however, determining liability can be complex. In many rear-end collisions, the trailing driver who hit the front vehicle is usually found to be at fault. 

When brake checking is involved, however, the motorist who performed the dangerous maneuver will likely be found responsible. In these situations, three main factors could affect liability:

  • Whether the lead driver hit the brakes on purpose
  • Whether the brake check put the rear driver in danger
  • Whether the brake check caused the rear driver to be fearful

If the lead driver was intentionally brake checking and put the rear driver in harm’s way, he or she will likely be at fault for the accident. However, the rear driver may share some of the liability if he or she was also committing a negligent act. In these cases, Washington’s comparative negligence laws may apply. 

Under these rules, the damages awarded in an accident will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to each driver. For example, say that the court determines that the lead driver was brake checking and assigns 40% of the fault to him or her. As such, the damages awarded to the lead driver will be reduced by 40%. If the rear driver contributed to the collision, the court may assign 20% of the fault, thus reducing his or her settlement by 20%.

What to Do If You Are Injured in a Brake Check Crash

If you are involved in a brake check accident, the first thing you should do is call 911 and seek medical attention for any injuries you may have sustained. If you are able, collect as much evidence as possible by speaking with witnesses, taking photographs, and exchanging information with the at-fault driver.

Once you have received medical treatment, you should contact a personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can help prove the other driver’s liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect your rights throughout your claim. Contact a Washington car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and plan your next steps.