Who Is At Fault in a ‘Chain Reaction’ Car Accident
Chain reaction car accidents occur when three or more vehicles hit one another in a series of rear-end accidents that are caused primarily by the force of the first collision.
Although they can be the result of a single driver’s negligence, chain reaction accidents may involve instances of carelessness by multiple drivers. Multiple injuries are often sustained by many people, including passengers in any of these cars. For this reason, litigating the resulting personal injury lawsuits can be particularly challenging.
If you are involved in a chain reaction accident, it is important to exchange insurance information with all the drivers involved, obtain eyewitness contact information and call the police to come to the scene and create a police report. Take several photographs of the scene, including skid marks, vehicle debris and property damage from multiple angles. If you are injured, be sure to seek immediate medical attention and retain copies of your medical records. You should also contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident to make sure that all relevant evidence is immediately identified and documented.
How A Chain Reaction Pileup Occurs
Most chain reaction accidents begin with a single collision. The first car collides with another, which may careen out of control and strike or be struck by a third vehicle. In many cases, the first vehicle hits a second that has suddenly stopped or slowed down, but other scenarios are also possible.
The following are examples of common types of chain reaction accidents:
- Two or more cars are stopped at an intersection when a vehicle strikes the rear of the last car in line. The impact may push that car into the back of the one in front of it, creating a domino effect. The number of cars involved depends on the speed and impact force of the first vehicle.
- A driver is forced to slam on his brakes when the car in front of him comes to a sudden halt. He hits the back of the vehicle in front of him while forcing the car behind him to have to brake to try to avoid hitting him. If that driver fails to stop in time, the next driver in line could become involved, and so on.
- A rear-end collision between two cars stopping for a red light forces the first vehicle in line into oncoming traffic. These accidents can be catastrophic if the lead car is put in a position to be hit head-on on or t-boned. There may be a chain of events that unfold from there as vehicles are pushed in unpredictable directions.
Whose Fault Was the Chain Reaction?
The biggest issue in chain reaction accidents is who was at fault? Determining fault in a multi-car accident is the biggest barrier to overcome in these types of accidents. From a factual perspective, determining causation can be tricky. In a case where a driver admits to being distracted and being the first car to rear-end another car in a line of cars, it may be appropriate to assign that driver 100% liability. Often times however, there are other factors at play including, bad weather conditions, driving to close to another vehicle, road construction, drunk driving, or aggressive driving. Thus, it is vital to speak with a car accident attorney that has experience with handling multi-car accident insurance claims.
One rule of the road that comes into play in most chain reaction accidents is that drivers must leave a safe following distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them, so that they can stop in time to avoid any road hazards or unexpected situations, such as the lead car slamming on its brakes. A driver who fails to maintain a safe following distance and then rear-ends the lead car will almost always be considered negligent.
Chain reaction accidents are extremely dangerous because there is often more than one threat to your safety. In a quick second, the roadway becomes an obstacle course and everyone is trying to avoid a major collision, which creates confusion that ends up leading to more collisions.
Contact a California Car Accident Attorney for More Information
If your accident is one where fault isn’t easily proven, this is where an experienced attorney can really help. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please contact our Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. An experienced attorney can answer your questions, investigate the accident and file your paperwork to ensure that your case is properly prepared and filed within the time limit required by the court.