Proving Fault in Chain Reaction Accidents
The most common type of chain reaction accidents are multi-vehicle accidents where a car at the end of a line of cars rear-ends the car in front of them and the car that was hit rear-ends the car in front of them because the momentum pushed them forward and so on. In some cases, there are six plus cars involved.
Proving fault in chain reaction accidents
You may think it’s obvious that the driver who caused the initial collision is responsible for the crashes but with so many cars, drivers and passengers involved in a chain-reaction crash; there may be more than one driver found negligent for the accident. There may be situations where the driver who caused the first rear-end collision is found to be intoxicated or was using their cell phone at the time of the crash, making it easier to assign 100% liability. In many accidents like these, however, bad weather, poor road conditions, tailgating or malfunctioning brake lights may all play a part.
Determining fault and appropriate car accident settlements can be a bit more complicated in these types of accidents. If you were involved in a chain-reaction accident and rear-ended the vehicle in front of you because of being hit from behind, contact a car accident lawyer right away. Their expertise in accident reconstruction may be just what you need to show that you were not at-fault for the accident.
In most states, the jury will consider all the evidence and assign fault to each defendant as they deem appropriate. In a multi-vehicle crash, a defendant may be able to claim that the plaintiff was also negligent, which means that the jury could then assign a percentage of fault to the plaintiff.
Washington State is a comparative fault state, which means that fault can be shared in a personal injury case. Damages are awarded based on contributory fault law which says that you may only be awarded damages proportionate to the percentage of fault contributed by the defendant and nothing for the amount of fault that you contributed.
What should I do if I am involved in a chain reaction accident?
Here are the steps you should take if you are involved in a chain reaction accident:
- Call the police to the scene to create a police report of the accident.
- If you are able, assess your injuries and the injuries of your passengers. Call 9-1-1 if you need medical care.
- If it is safe to do so and you are able, get out of your car and see if anyone else is injured. Call 9-1-1 if anyone needs medical care.
- Exchange insurance information with each of the drivers involved.
- Take down information for any witnesses.
- Take pictures from multiple angles of any damage to your car and the other cars as well as the scene of the accident. Take pictures of any accident debris, property damage and skid marks.
- Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to assess your injuries.
- Contact a personal injury attorney if you were injured.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!