Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Filing a lawsuit after a tailgating accident

Drivers in Michigan and around the country are expected to remain a safe distance behind the vehicles in front of them, and they may face both civil and criminal sanctions when collisions are caused by tailgating. While criminal charges are unlikely to be filed in connection with this kind of crash unless road users were injured or killed, the traffic citations commonly handed out to tailgating drivers may be used to establish liability in car accident lawsuits.

Road users who suffer injury, loss or damage in accidents that they were partly responsible for causing may still pursue civil remedies in Michigan, but the damages they are able to recover will be adjusted to reflect their degree of culpability. When accidents have been caused by vehicles following too closely, tailgating drivers often accuse the driver they rear-ended of making abrupt or unexpected maneuvers.

However, motor vehicle laws require road users to maintain distances sufficient to account for other vehicles taking emergency or evasive action, and these arguments are unlikely to withstand scrutiny unless other factors, such as defective brake lights or unexpected substances on the roadway, played a role. Tailgating drivers may sometimes question the damages being sought in car accident lawsuits, and plaintiffs will be expected to back their claims up with documentation like hospital bills and paystubs.

Police reports may not always be enough to establish fault in car accident lawsuits, and experienced personal injury attorneys may conduct their own investigations when arguments of contributory negligence are likely. Attorneys or their investigators could canvass the accident scene for witnesses who may have been overlooked by law enforcement, and they could also check the immediate area for traffic control or security cameras that could have recorded the events in question.Source: The Michigan Legislature, Comparative fault; reduced damages, 2015

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