California motorists should always maintain a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. This is so that they will be able to stop before crashing into the vehicle. However, if a tailgating accident does occur, it is important that all drivers understand who may be held liable for the accident.
A driver's negligence or a violation of the state's motor vehicle statutes could be linked to the fault of an accident. Negligence claims for tailgating accidents would have to be based on four factors, which include duty, breach, causation and damages.
The driver filing the claim would have to prove that the other driver was obligated to drive responsibly and failed to do so because he or she was tailgating. The plaintiff would also have to prove that he or she sustained injuries because of the breach of duty caused by the other driver and that the injuries were the direct result of the tailgating accident. The damages would have to be proved by submitting medical records and verifying medical expenses.
Nearly every state has tailgating statutes that make it illegal to follow behind another vehicle at close distances. This means that victims of tailgating may also highlight the offending driver's violation of the law as confirmation of his or her fault in the accident.
Evidence, such as witness recollections, photographs of the scene and police reports, may be necessary to prove that a driver was tailgating. A personal injury attorney may assist victims of rear-end car accidents with obtaining the financial compensation to which they may legally be entitled.