Negligence Liability for Following Too Close

Rear-end collisions of various degrees of severity are a common occurrence on Indiana roads. In general, one of the most helpful driving hints for any driver who wants to avoid being a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit is to take your time and leave a lot of space between you and the driver in front of you.

In a motor vehicle accident case, following too closely and then crashing into the car in front can be a basis for a negligence claim. The reason this is so is if a motorist tailgates another vehicle, that motorist cannot keep a proper lookout for hazards and conditions in the roadway ahead of the vehicle in front. If that vehicle (let’s call it vehicle #1) suddenly stops and vehicle #2 rear-ends it, the operator of vehicle #2 can be held liable in court. If vehicle #1 suddenly swerves to the left and there is a stopped vehicle in the roadway ahead, and you collide with that stopped vehicle, you may also be held liable.

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles talks about the “two second rule” in relation to proper following distance. This means that a driver should keep a distance of at least two or three seconds between his or her car and the car in front. You can do this by picking a landmark or fixed object on the side of the road and when the car in front of you passes it, it should be at least two seconds before you pass that same landmark. The BMV manual also identifies several factors that in addition to speed that affects a car’s ability to stop safely, including the condition of the brakes and tires, and road conditions. Although a driver has no control over slick roads especially in the winter months, it is important to keep your vehicle in good operating shape for your safety and the safety of others.

At Young and Young, we have represented thousands of Hoosiers who have been injured in rear-end collisions. We would be happy to sit with you and your family to advise you as to how the law can help you receive compensation for the injuries you sustain when another’s negligence causes your injury.

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