Who Is Liable for a Florida Brake-Checking Car Accident? 

January 20, 2024
Leaser Law Firm

Florida has a reputation for being home to aggressive drivers. Practically every Florida driver can name a scenario in which another driver brake-checked them — that is, slammed on the brakes for no reason to illustrate that the rear driver was following too closely. 

What happens if you hit a car after being brake-checked? Are you liable, or is the other driver? Determining liability with the help of a car accident lawyer can help you seek maximum compensation.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Brake-Checking Accident? 

In a typical rear-end accident, the rear driver is often fully liable for the crash. Drivers have a responsibility to maintain a safe following distance. Maintaining a three-second following distance should allow drivers plenty of time to slow down should the vehicles in front of them come to a stop. 

But what if another driver brake-checked you, or tried to cause an accident because they thought you were following too closely? Florida does not have any laws specifically criminalizing brake checking, and brake checking does not meet its definition of aggressive driving. As such, if another driver brake checks you and causes an accident, they may not be liable. 

Because of the complicated circumstances surrounding brake checking, you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side after this type of accident. 

Florida’s Modified Comparative Negligence Policy

You will likely be at least partially liable for a brake-checking accident in which you rear-ended another driver in Florida. However, under Florida’s modified comparative negligence policy, the other driver may assume some of the responsibility. 

Florida law understands that accident cases aren’t always cut and dry. Sometimes one driver is mainly responsible for an accident, yet the other driver contributed in some small way. 

Under Florida’s modified comparative negligence policy, all parties involved in an accident can assume a percentage of the liability. For example, the insurance company may assign you 60% responsibility for a brake-checking accident and assign the other driver 40%, recognizing that their aggressive actions contributed to the crash. 

Still, if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you won’t be able to seek any compensation from the other driver. That’s why you need to work with an experienced vehicle collision lawyer to prove the other driver’s liability. 

What to Do If You Hit a Car After Being Brake Checked

The steps you take immediately after a brake-checking accident can significantly impact your case. You should:

  • Avoid admitting fault in any way. Even saying “I’m sorry” could be viewed as an admission of fault. Instead, keep the talking to a minimum. 
  • Look for witnesses. If another driver or pedestrian saw the driver brake check you immediately before the accident, you may be able to use their testimony to support your case. 
  • Seek video footage. Another driver may have caught the accident on their dash cam. Video footage would provide valuable evidence to show the driver’s aggressive actions. 
  • Hire a car crash attorney. Brake-checking accidents can be complicated, and you need a knowledgeable auto accident attorney to effectively navigate your case and prove the other driver’s liability. 

Seek Legal Help for Car Accidents in Florida 

Just because Florida doesn’t have laws against brake checking does not mean you are immediately liable for rear-ending a vehicle. Your lawyer for car crashes can help you build a strong case to show that the other driver caused the accident. At Leaser Law Firm, we provide compassionate legal representation for injury auto accidents in Florida. Call us today at 954-233-3515 for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.