New York City is a densely populated city with thousands of cars on its streets daily. This density of traffic can lead to a great deal of traffic accidents, including those caused by brake checking. Brake checking is a dangerous practice that can lead to severe injuries. 

Understanding the practice of brake checking and the avenues available for those affected is crucial to recovering the compensation you deserve after a brake checking accident.

What Is Brake Checking?

Brake checking is a dangerous driving maneuver where a driver abruptly applies the brakes, often without a legitimate reason, to force the driver behind to slam on their brakes. This may be intended as a joke, or it may be a maneuver to “punish” what the driver believes to be a tailgating driver. Whatever the rationale, this aggressive behavior can result in rear-end collisions and poses a significant risk to everyone on the road.

Brake checking can be considered reckless or aggressive driving. New York traffic laws prohibit actions that endanger others on the road. According to New York law, drivers are also required to maintain a reasonable or safe following distance. Brake checking may be deemed illegal if it leads to a collision or is part of aggressive driving behavior.

Can You Sue for Brake Checking Car Accidents?

In general, brake checking is a dangerous activity. Even if the driver is not ill-intended, intentionally stopping short is a negligent behavior that can cause real harm to other drivers. When this behavior causes harm to others, it can form the basis for a negligence claim or an intentional tort. 

A victim of a brake-checking accident can bring a negligence claim on the basis of driving practices that are unreasonable under the circumstances. When the driver is brake checking on purpose, a victim can bring an intentional tort claim of battery or assault

Factors Considered When Reviewing a Brake Checking Accident

When a brake-checking victim brings a negligence or intentional tort claim for brake-checking, courts often consider several factors when deciding to award damages.

The following factors are often considered when reviewing a brake-checking accident:

  • Intent: Proving that the brake checking was intentional can strengthen your case.
  • Elements of the Claim: Courts ask whether the plaintiff has addressed all elements of the claim, whether negligence, assault, or battery, in his or her complaint. Failure to address and prove each element can lead to dismissal for “failure to state a claim.”
  • Burden of Proof: The plaintiff has the burden of proof. This means that the plaintiff must introduce sufficient evidence.
  • Evidence: The court looks at evidence, including dash cameras, accident reports, medical records, and witness accounts, to determine liability and impacts. 
  • Damages: After determining who was at fault, the court will consider what damages are owed to the various parties. Damages are the compensation for physical, emotional, and financial injuries caused by the accident.

After looking at all of these elements, if the plaintiff has made a strong case, the court may award a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor. Otherwise, the court may rule for the defendant.

What if I Am Being Blamed for the Brake Checking Accident?

Determining fault in brake-checking accidents can be complex. The other driver may try to argue that you share the blame in the accident. However, even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation. 

New York has a pure comparative fault law. This means that your compensation will be reduced by the portion of the fault attributed to you. An experienced car accident attorney can help you reduce your share of the liability and maximize your compensation.

How Soon After My Brake Checking Accident Do I Need to File My Lawsuit?

In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is three years. That means that you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. For assault and battery, the statute of limitations is one year. It is crucial to act promptly — if you do not file by the deadline, you will lose your right to sue.

If you’ve been a victim of a brake-checking car accident, you do not have to navigate the recovery process alone. An experienced brake-checking accident lawyer can fight for your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in New York City

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Manhattan, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City car accident lawyers at Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007