Yes, you can prove that a car did not maintain enough distance to keep from hitting your vehicle by showing how the driver violated Tennessee’s “Following Too Closely” law. You can also prove whether a car was following too closely in a car accident by showing how you suffered physical injuries and property damage because of the wreck.
If you believe a car has been following you too closely, you may want to consult an attorney. The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC have car accident lawyers who can help you prove your case and hold the driver responsible for your damages.
What is the “Following Too Closely” Law?
The Following Too Closely law prohibits drivers from following another vehicle “more closely than is reasonable and prudent.” The measure also requires drivers to have “due regard for the speed of other vehicles, the traffic, and other highway conditions.”
Following a vehicle at a reasonable distance gives drivers enough space to stop and avoid hitting the front vehicle if it suddenly stops.
Motorists have challenged the Following Too Closely law in the past. But, according to a Tennessee appeals court ruling, the “following too closely statute passes constitutional muster.”
What Happens if a Driver Violates the “Following Too Closely” Law?
If convicted of this offense, a driver faces a Class C misdemeanor which is punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail, a maximum fine of $50, or both. The Tennessee Department of Safety may assess 3 points on an individual’s driving record.
How Do Drivers Know if They Are Following Too Closely?
Tennessee’s “Comprehensive Driver License Manual” recommends that drivers follow “The Two-Second Rule”:
- When the car in front of you passes a sign post, a building or other stationary point, count the seconds it takes for you to reach the same point.
- Count to yourself, “one-thousand and one, one-thousand and two,” etc. If you reach that same stationary point before you finish counting to at least one-thousand and two, you are following too closely.
- If you are following too closely, increase the space between you and the front car by slowing down.
- Look for another stationary point and repeat the exercise to make sure you are following no closer than two seconds.
According to the manual, you can do this exercise at any speed and on any state or U.S. highway with moderate speed limits.
Does the Two-Second Rule Apply to Night Driving?
No, the two-second rule should increase to a minimum of four seconds in bad weather, at night, and on interstate highways driving at higher speeds, according to the driver license manual. The four seconds help to improve visibility and allow a safe following distance under these conditions.
Do Drivers Break the Law If They Do Not Follow the Two-Second Rule?
The Two-Second Rule is not a Tennessee law but a principle that drivers can follow. “Following Too Closely” is actually a law and a driver who follows at an unreasonable distance and rear-ends a vehicle violates this law. You may use this violation along with other evidence to prove that the driver was at-fault for the accident.
What Additional Evidence Do I Need to Prove the Rear Driver Caused the Accident?
You may collect evidence from various sources to prove your claim. To know the type of evidence that will help you build a strong case, speak to a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help accident victims build a solid case to recover compensation for the damages they suffered in a vehicle accident.
Helpful evidence to gather when building your case includes:
- A police report of your accident
- Testimony from eyewitnesses to the car accident
- Traffic camera video or surveillance video
- Your medical records that describe the nature and extent of your injuries
- Photographs of the accident scene
What Do I Do With This Evidence?
The evidence can prove the rear driver caused the accident. If you decide to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, Tennessee requires you to show how the rear driver owed you a duty not to harm you. The driver violated this duty by causing an accident because of negligence, which in your case was following too closely, and you suffered damages because of the accident.
A car accident lawyer can explain how using this evidence to prove negligence can help you prevail in your efforts to recover compensation for your damages.
Since Tennessee is a fault state when it comes to car accidents, the party at fault for causing an accident pays for damages. The at-fault party’s auto insurance company typically pays for most of the damages.
What Type of Compensation Can I Recover?
If you suffered injuries in the car accident, you may pursue compensation for damages that includes:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Lost wages
- In-home health care
- Physical therapy
- Medical mobility devices
- Pain and suffering
In certain cases, involving catastrophic injuries or losses, you can seek punitive damages against the driver.
How Do I Receive This Compensation?
Taking the evidence that proves the rear driver followed you too closely, you can file a claim with the driver’s auto insurer. Next, you would negotiate the claim so that you can receive fair compensation for your financial and emotional losses. Sometimes claims resolve without having to go to court if both parties agree on the terms.
We Offer a Free Legal Evaluation
If injured in an accident caused by a car following too closely, call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation. Our lawyers can help you prove a car was following too closely in a car accident. We work on contingency which means you do not pay for our services unless you receive compensation in your case.