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What Should I Do If I Was in an Accident Caused by Brake Checking?

Brake checking is a maneuver in which a driver intentionally hits the brakes to signal something to another driver, often forcing the following driver to also brake or take evasive action. It generally happens in a road rage or aggressive driving incident and is not an approved driving maneuver. It could also be a means of committing insurance fraud. If someone caused your car accident by brake checking, you could have the right to hold them liable for your damages.

Contact Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyers to explore your rights and retain legal representation. After being injured in an auto accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover your losses with the aid of our car accident attorneys. We have more than 45 years of experience in personal injury litigation and can provide clients with beneficial legal services to strengthen their claims. Call us at 617-391-9001 or fill out our contact form.

What You Should Do After an Accident Caused by Brake Checking

If you get into an accident with someone because that person brake checked you, do not admit fault. Call the police from the scene of the collision. Do not apologize to the other driver, but remain polite while you ask for their name and insurance information. When the police arrive, give the officer your version of events. 

Explain why you believe the driver in front of you slammed on the brakes for no other reason than to cause an accident. An investigation of the crash, including speaking to eyewitnesses, could help establish the other driver’s fault for causing the accident by brake checking. Gathering compelling evidence and establishing fault could protect you from liability for the crash.

Is the Brake Checker Liable If They Caused the Accident?

In Massachusetts, liability for an auto accident will not matter unless victims have severe or life-changing injuries. Massachusetts uses a no-fault car accident law, meaning all people involved in an auto accident will seek benefits from their own insurance providers regardless of fault unless the crash qualifies as an exception. 

Exceptions exist for accidents that cause broken bones, disabilities, disfigurement, permanent scarring, or wrongful death. Without a severe injury, you will seek benefits from your insurer even if you believe the other driver is at fault due to brake checking. If your injuries are severe, however, you may be able to hold the other driver liable. 

What Is the Point of Brake Checking?

Brake checking typically has one of two purposes: to force another driver to move or to commit insurance fraud. 

Brake Checking to Send a Message

The goal of brake checking for a negligent or reckless driver is often to send a signal to another driver. Driver A might brake check Driver B if Driver B is following too closely, tailgating, honking, flashing their lights, or otherwise driving aggressively. Brake checking in this scenario would act as a warning or threat to the following driver. It may force the driver to hit the brakes, increase their following distance, or go around Driver A.

Brake Checking to Commit Insurance Fraud

Brake checking may also be a way for a driver to commit insurance fraud. Driver A might intentionally cause a rear-end collision by abruptly slamming the brakes. Then, Driver A may file an insurance claim for injuries and property damages against Driver B. Driver B may be able to argue insurance fraud if they can prove Driver A had no reason to brake. 

If a driver abruptly hits the brakes to avoid an accident, such as to avoid striking an animal, it is not brake checking. A driver has the right to hit the brakes to avoid an unexpected obstacle. The following driver should leave enough distance between the vehicles to be able to hit the brakes in time to avoid a car accident.

Is Brake Checking Illegal in Massachusetts?

Most states do not have laws that specifically ban brake checking. Instead, they prohibit all acts of reckless driving. In Massachusetts, General Laws Chapter 90, section 24 makes reckless driving illegal. The Commonwealth’s definition of reckless driving is to operate a motor vehicle in a way that endangers public safety. 

This is a broad definition that can include speeding, drunk driving, drowsy driving, drag racing, red-light running, and tailgating. Brake checking can constitute reckless driving in Massachusetts, especially if it causes an accident. The brake checker could receive a traffic citation or even criminal charges depending on the severity and circumstances of the incident.

Consult a Knowledgeable Break Checking Car Accident Attorney to Learn More

Brake checkers are the bane of many drivers, and being in an accident caused by brake checking is frustrating. Regardless of their rationale, break checkers are committing an act of negligence and violating their duty of care to other drivers. When you need to negotiate with your insurance company or sue the liable driver because you’ve suffered severe injuries, a knowledgeable break checking car accident attorney may benefit your case.

Discuss your case with Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyers. In our more than 45 years of practice, we have provided clients with legal counsel that has helped them recover hundreds of millions of dollars. We employ lawyers like attorney Erin E. McHugh, who has been recognized as a 2022 Rising Star by Super Lawyers and has been instrumental in helping accident victims recover significant sums of money. For more information, schedule a free consultation by calling (617)-391-9001 or by completing our contact form.


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