A chain reaction collision accident can cause death or serious injuries to several people and severe damage to all the vehicles involved in the accident. One vehicle will cause the initial impact, but because of various reasons, other vehicles may not be able to stop promptly leading a chain reaction collision accident. It’s quite challenging to determine liability in such situations. Several drivers might be at fault on different levels such that some drivers will be found to have a higher percentage of fault than others. There are also other external complications such as the weather and road conditions that affect these cases.
Liability in chain reaction collisions
In a typical multiple-vehicle pile-up collision, there can be more than one rear-end collisions because the vehicles behind the initial car were not able to slow down in time. It can be easy to determine fault if all the other vehicles were driving safely except the first one, which was probably being driven by an impaired or distracted driver.
It’s a general traffic rule that drivers should keep a safe distance between themselves and the vehicles ahead of them, and to tailgate another vehicle is a traffic crime, but might be difficult to prove. It’s advisable to keep a safe distance because the driver of the vehicle ahead may brake instantly in case of road hazards or another vehicle slamming its brakes. Therefore, a driver who doesn’t abide by the safe distance rule is considered negligent.
What to do after the accident
The first thing is to contact the police and try to check whether any of your passengers or other drivers have been injured and might need some basic first aid. It’s also crucial that you exchange insurance information details with other involved drivers at the scene of the accident and obtain witness information in case there are any witnesses. It’s important to collect various pieces of information that you deem important by taking short notes and pictures with your phone or camera immediately. Talk to the police while at the scene about everything that you can account for concerning the chain reaction collision accident. Contact your insurance company for compensation purposes. You can take out some time before you contact credible personal injury lawyers.
The process of determining fault
When your personal injury lawyers file a claim against the driver (or drivers) who were at fault at the time of the accident, they have the burden of proving that the drivers are indeed liable based on negligence. Some of the sources that may help you allocate blame in the chain reaction collision case include:
The accounts of eyewitnesses
Police reports and findings of the drivers who violated traffic laws
Vehicle debris and skid marks evidence collected from the scene of the accident
Degree of vehicle damage
The doctrine of comparative negligence can be applied in handling chain reaction cases to an extent that several drivers get compensation depending on the degrees they or the other drivers were deemed to be at-fault of the accident.
Causes of chain reaction collisions
Bad weather- some of the weather conditions that can reduce visibility and make the roads slippery include fog, rain, dust storms and hail. However, these weather conditions are not an excuse to cause a chain reaction accident because there are various precautions provided by law to drive in such situations. For example, when there is low visibility drivers are supposed to slow down and when there is no visibility, drivers are supposed to pull off the road and turn on their hazard lights and step away from the roadway to for safety in case a chain reaction accident occurs. Therefore, drivers who fail to comply with some of these precautions can be held liable for a chain reaction accident.
Distracted driving- some of the common distractions that can lead to an accident include drinking, falling asleep, applying makeup, eating, texting or talking on the phone while driving. Drivers can also be distracted by other passengers or by concentrating on another road accident or incident. Such a driver can be considered partly or wholly liable for a chain reaction accident.
Driving under the influence of drugs- most of the reported road accidents occur when drivers indulge in drug and alcohol consumption. It’s unlawful to drive while you’re intoxicated because your judgment is impaired.