According to a Statista report, 280 million vehicles drive on American roads. With the unfortunate prevalence of dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding and drunk driving, it’s no surprise that thousands of car accidents take place each year. Data from the Statista report indicates that in one recent year, 12 million vehicles were in crashes.
After an accident, accident victims often must seek medical care for their injuries. After that comes the process of determining the at-fault party for insurance purposes. Ordinarily, this process is complicated as there are many things to consider. It becomes even worse when the crash involved multiple vehicles.
Chain reaction accidents occur when there is a series of rear-end accidents involving three or more vehicles. Before anyone can file an insurance claim, they must determine which party was responsible for the accident.
So, if you were hit by a vehicle that was rear-ended by another, who’s at fault? Read on to find out more about three car collisions and who is responsible.
Determining Who Is to Blame for a Multiple Car Collision
While driving, you are legally required to leave a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This space can give you the time to avoid an accident in case something unexpected arises and the car ahead of you slows down suddenly.
This is the rule mainly used to assess fault in three-car chain-reaction accidents. Regardless of other circumstances, if a driver did not maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of them, they have some degree of responsibility for the accident.
When it comes to car accident claims, the party responsible for the collision will bear liability to the others in the accident. The same rule applies to multiple car collisions. Even if multiple parties sustain damage to their vehicles and injuries, the party primarily responsible for the crash will be by far the most liability
For instance, take a case where there’s a collision involving drivers X, Y, and Z. Assume that driver X initiates the collision by ramming into the back of driver Y’s car while driver Y is stopped at a red light, and driver Y then rear-ends driver Z due to the force of the initial impact. In this case, there is no direct contact between driver X and driver Z.
Nevertheless, driver X is still responsible for the injuries driver Z sustained and damages to driver Z’s vehicle, as they result from the chain reaction. However, determining the cause of the accident is not always so straight forward. An investigation will be necessary to assess all the factors.
The Last Driver Is Not Always at Fault
The unforeseen can occur at any time. Human error triggers most such incidents. In some cases, accidents happen when one car (Y) cuts in front of the other (X) and immediately slows down. This then causes X to ram into Y, who then rams into Z in front of them.
In this case, the chain reaction sequence may be the same, but the driver at fault may not be the one at the rear of the chain. Since driver Y is the one who cut in front of driver X, they’re likely at fault for the damages and injuries everyone else sustained in the accident.
More than One Driver Can Be Legally Liable
When determining legal liability, investigators try to figure out who is ultimately responsible for causing the accident. However, it does not necessarily have to be just one driver. Consider the following scenario. While driving, a car cuts in front of you and immediately slows down, causing you to rear-end them.
Before you can recover from the first crash, another car hits you from behind. However, the second crash is not due to the first one. The driver behind you had enough time to react to the first crash, but they were texting. In this case, the drivers in front of you and behind you will be liable.
Based on the percentage of fault, the other divers each share some degree of fault and owe you for your damages and injuries. This means you can receive partial compensation from both of their insurance companies to add up to your full damages.
In some cases, the cause of an accident is vehicle malfunction. Considering that vehicles travel at high speeds, the driver may not have enough time to react if a part malfunctions. This can cause multiple cars to crash into one another.
In such cases, the vehicle parts manufacturer may be liable for the accident. Barring any other contributing causes, all the drivers involved are victims and can sue the parts manufacturer.
What to Do After a 3-Car Accident
As with all motor vehicle accidents, the first thing that you should do, if you are able, is to move your car to a safe place. This is to avoid putting other drivers at risk by leaving disabled vehicles in the roadway. Attend to your injuries and check on your passengers and the passengers in the other vehicles.
If you can safely move around the scene of the accident, you should also:
- Talk to eyewitnesses and take down their contact information.
- Scan the surrounding buildings for CCTV cameras and note if you see any.
- Take photographs of the scene and the damage to each vehicle.
Once you have received the necessary medical treatments, call your insurance company to report the accident.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney
After a car accident, every party is generally quick to find fault in the other drivers. Since it may not be easy to identify who is at fault, you may receive blame even if you are a victim. This is why it is essential to get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney who can demonstrate your innocence and help you get compensation.
Always Seek Help
Even if there is no question about who is responsible for the accident, hiring a car accident lawyer is advisable. In addition to proving your innocence, they can offer a lot of invaluable support. Your attorney will handle the insurance claim or lawsuit seeking to recover damages. This will allow you to focus on recovering from the accident.
Are you wondering what you need to do to seek compensation for your car accident injuries? Contact a car accident attorney near you today for a free consultation.