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Car Accidents

What exactly is tailgating, and what happens when it causes an accident?

rear end from tailgatingWhat is tailgating?

Tailgating is one of the most common dangerous driving maneuvers on today’s roadways. Tailgating occurs when a driver is too close to the vehicle in front of them. When road conditions are optimal, it is suggested that there is a two-to-three-second gap between vehicles. Tailgating occurs when this gap is shortened, and it’s the leading cause of rear-end collisions.

Chicago crash victims who have suffered an injury have the right to seek compensation from all liable parties. These rights can be protected by an experienced Chicago car accident attorney

If you have found yourself in this situation, call Langdon & Emison for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We can help you determine the most appropriate course of action. Call (312) 855-0700 or contact us online to schedule your free case review today.

 

How Tailgating Causes Accidents

It’s not uncommon for any driver to feel like they are in total control of their vehicle. We tend to believe we can handle any situation the road throws at us. The truth is, things can change so quickly that we don’t have time to react appropriately. This is often the case in accidents caused by tailgating. 

Imagine this typical scenario:

You are on the Kennedy Expressway during rush hour. Stop-and-go traffic is causing headaches for everyone. There is a break in traffic and you hit the gas, trying to escape the gridlock. You can’t see the license plate of the vehicle in front of you and can barely see its brake lights. 

Suddenly, the car in front of you comes to a complete stop and you don’t have time to think, much less hit your own brakes. You find yourself colliding with the vehicle’s rear end. You were following too closely and, in most cases, you will be found at fault for the accident.

This scenario is not always caused by road rage or someone being purposefully reckless – it’s simply caused by a typical response to a stressful commute. It doesn’t matter. Tailgating in any situation is a violation of the law. When someone is injured in an accident like this, the at-fault driver will be held accountable for the damages.

 

How Common Are Tailgating Accidents in Chicago?

There are no statistics available for Chicago accidents where someone was cited for following too closely. However, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) does keep statistics on the number of accidents involving a rear-end collision. Since nearly all of these accidents are caused by following too closely, the data can provide a good idea of how common tailgating is.

Of the 98,859 accidents in Chicago in 2018, rear-end collisions were the most common. They made up 27,424 of the total, equalling 27.7%. 

Fortunately, rear-end collisions rarely result in fatalities, but they can cause serious injuries. In 2018, rear-end collisions led to 11 deaths and 4,625 injuries. Of these injuries, 424 were considered serious and 3,324 were considered severe.

 

Common Injuries Sustained in Tailgating Accidents

Each type of collision comes with its own set of injuries that are most common. In the case of tailgating accidents, or rear-end collisions, injuries that may occur include:

  • Back injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Whiplash and neck injuries
  • Fractures
  • Facial injuries

The injuries sustained in a rear-end collision can range from minor to debilitating. The severity of injuries often depends on the force of the impact. 

In the most serious collisions, injuries may render the victim disfigured or paralyzed. Severe injuries can lead to a victim being identified as temporarily or permanently disabled – a classification that can affect the livelihood of the victim and their entire family.

 

Chicago Injury Victims Have Rights

Any person who is injured in a Chicago car accident caused by someone’s negligent or willful behavior has rights. When a victim hires a personal injury attorney, the victim and their advocate will work to prove:

  • The at-fault driver was negligent;
  • The negligence led to the collision;
  • The collision resulted in injury; and,
  • The injury resulted in damages.

When these elements can be proven, the car accident victim can secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more. Personal injury victims may also be entitled to punitive damages designed to deter the at-fault party from making similar decisions in the future.

 

An Experienced Car Accident Injury Law Advocate Is Essential

If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision caused by tailgating, you need a legal advocate to work by your side. An attorney can work with insurance companies to reach a fair settlement and, if necessary, file a claim in court. 

You and your family do not have to suffer financial ruin due to someone else’s decisions. Call Langdon & Emison today at (312) 855-0700 or reach out to us online – our team is here to ensure your rights are protected.