You’re driving down the road on your way to work in heavy traffic. Everything seems standard for your morning commute until you’re sideswiped by a passing vehicle and subsequently rear-ended by the car behind you when you brake. Emergency responders arrive at the scene, and you’re treated for your injuries and told to follow up with your primary care doctor.
But, what now? You have medical bills coming in, and you’ve had to take time off work to recover from your injuries. So, instead of suffering through financial troubles, you may have grounds for an injury claim. However, when more than two cars are involved, determining who to hold accountable and why can be challenging. Fortunately, our attorneys are well-versed in all types of automotive accidents, and we’re here to help. To understand what your options may be, let’s start by taking a look at how and why chain reaction crashes occur.
The Anatomy of Chain Reaction Crashes
If three or more vehicles are involved in the same accident, it’s considered a chain reaction event. The term refers to the nature of these types of crashes when two vehicles collide, and the force of the initial collision or the disabled vehicle leads to crashes with more vehicles. These are also called pileups, especially when they occur on highways or interstates.
There are different types of chain reaction accidents, and your lawyer will identify which type you were in and why. One of the most common ones we see is when two drivers are stopped at an intersection, and a third approaching driver fails to stop. As a result, the third driver rear-ends the second, and the second vehicle is pushed into the first.
Another example of a train reaction crash would be if the first driver suddenly slams on their breaks and the second driver rear-ends them. Then, the third driver, unable to stop in time, rear-ends the second vehicle.
Chain reaction crashes can be incredibly dangerous, if not fatal. When multiple vehicles are involved in a crash, especially at high speeds, the scene of the wreck is likely to be chaotic. It may take time for emergency responders to sort out what happened and ensure that everyone who needs medical attention receives it. The weather can also affect the difficultly of managing a three-plus vehicle crash, especially if it’s snowing or raining.
The deadliest chain reaction crashes typically involve commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers. Products are transferred all around the country on a daily basis. When a big rig weighing 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle gets into a crash on an interstate, it’s likely multiple cars will be involved. In addition to potentially fatal injuries, commercial trucks can also cause massive destruction resulting in road closures.
Determining Liability for a Three-Car Accident
When your lawyer investigates your accident, they will determine which driver was behind the proximate cause of the crash. Even if multiple vehicles and people were involved, the party accountable for the initial crash, or the driver who sideswiped you in our scenario above, would be legally liable for injuries and losses—financial and otherwise.
There are situations, however, where multiple drivers can share fault for a collision. Two or more parties can be independently responsible for damages and could even be 100% liable for your economic damages. If that’s the case, they will likely only be partially liable for noneconomic damages based on the fault percentages. If you’re in a situation like that, you could receive settlements from more than one insurance company.
It’s important to work with a skilled attorney when pursuing an injury claim against multiple parties for the same crash. If you fail to do so and consider representing yourself, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of receiving full and fair compensation.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
If you’ve been injured in a multi-vehicle accident and don’t know where to turn, Thomas Law Offices is here to help. We represent injury victims across the country and are prepared to take your case on next. We recognize the struggles you’re going through and are here to explain your legal rights and options and ensure you have access to the resources you need to make the best decisions for your future.
If you’re ready to start your claim, we recommend calling us or reaching out online to schedule a free case evaluation. Once we meet, we’ll review your situation and provide guidance on how best to proceed to ensure you obtain the compensation you need to get your life back in order. Contact us today to learn more.