Who Is At Fault In A Chain Reaction Accident?

Posted on: 7 August 2015

Trying to deal with auto insurance companies is difficult enough when you have been involved in an auto accident with only one other driver. But what do you do when you hit the vehicle in front of you because someone hit you from behind, and then you were hit again when another vehicle joined the melee? Accidents such as these not only lead major property damage, but can often produce horrific injuries.  When you are involved in a two vehicle accident, it is often easy to determine who is at fault, but in a chain reaction accident, fault is not always that clear. Who is going to pay for all of this? You will need an accident attorney to help you sort it out.

What Is A Chain Reaction Accident?

Every so often you will hear on the news about a large multi-vehicle accident, or pile-up that has taken place on the interstate. These accidents are usually not one big accident, but a series of accidents which take place one after the other, or a chain reaction accident. The accident may often go something like this:

Driver A is struck by Driver B, but because Driver C was following too closely, or did not see the accident in time, they strike Driver B. Driver C is then struck by Driver D. The force of subsequent collisions may cause additional damage or injuries to the cars and drivers who have already been impacted. Depending on traffic, or the weather conditions, this process may be repeated over and over. 

How Do You Determine Fault?

Many times in chain reaction accidents there is more than one driver who was negligent. The accident may have been caused by the driver who caused the initial accident, but subsequent accidents may have been caused by other drivers who were guilty of following too closely among other things.

Because the subsequent accidents may have impacted the drivers involved in the initial collisions, these drivers may also find themselves liable for the cost of injuries and damages for more than one driver or vehicle. Establishing liability in these types of accidents is never an easy task. It often comes down to:

  • The eyewitness accounts of those who saw the accident occur
  • Statements from those involved (including passengers, as well as drivers)
  • Police reports, especially if there were any charges filed
  • Review of the scene of the accident
  • Examination of the vehicle damages, and more

Establishing liability in a chain reaction accident will often take an extended period of time. You may be forced to file your injuries, as well as the damages to your vehicle, with your personal insurance company. Once it is established that another person was actually at fault, your insurance company will have the right of subrogation. This will allow them to go after the other insurance company in an effort to reduce the amount they are expected to pay out. The best way to avoid dealing with this complicated process is to take the necessary steps to avoid a chain reaction accident.

How To Avoid Chain Reaction Accidents?

One of the biggest problems in a chain reaction accident is that most of the drivers involved were either following too closely, or not paying enough attention, to stop in time enough to avoid a collision with the vehicle in front of them. While a safe traveling distance depends on many factors, including road conditions and weather, it is advised that under most circumstances you can use the three-second rule

Determining if you are at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you is easy to do. Choose a fixed object on the side of the road such as a light pole or a tree. Wait for the vehicle in front of you to pass the object, and then start to slowly count off three seconds. Most people do this by slowly stating one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand. If you are three seconds behind the vehicle, you should be able to reach three before you pass the object. 

Due to the difficulties involved in establishing negligence in a chain reaction accident, if you find yourself involved in one, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. They will not only make sure your legal rights are protected, but will make sure you will receive the compensation you are entitled to. Click here to read more about accident attorney services in your area. 


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