Who is Liable in a Multi-vehicle Accident?
A multi-vehicle accident is one in which three or more cars are involved. Multi-vehicle, or chain reaction accidents can be scary situations. Your vehicle may be hit from different directions or pushed into other vehicles. The resulting injuries can be serious. When multiple vehicles are involved in an accident, who is liable for injury?
Typical Multi-vehicle Accidents
Most multi-vehicle accidents involve rear-end collisions. Driver A hits Driver B who then hits Driver C. Driver A may have been distracted and following too closely and hit Driver B. Driver B may have been traveling too closely to Driver C, or the force of the impact may have been enough to cause the second collision. Multi-vehicle accidents involve multiple drivers, so determining who was negligent and to what degree can be a complex matter.
Determining Liability in a Multi-vehicle Accident
It may appear that the driver who started the chain reaction would be fully responsible for any injuries that result from the accident. While this may be the case, it is important to look at the behavior of each involved driver to determine if other factors may have been involved. It comes down to determining which driver was careless or to what degree a driver may be responsible.
An important rule that comes into play in most multi-vehicle accidents is the importance of keeping a safe following distance behind the car in front of you. Drivers need to be able to make a timely stop when they encounter hazards or unexpected situations on the road, such as the driver in front slamming on their brakes. A driver who fails to maintain a safe following distance is generally liable to at least some degree in the accident. This is often the driver that started the chain reaction. However, if a driver in the middle also failed to maintain a safe following distance, they may also be partially liable for the accident. In addition, if Driver A hit Driver B because Driver B braked suddenly and their brake lights were out, then Driver B may be liable for injuries sustained by Driver A and Driver C.
When trying to determine liability in a multi-vehicle accident, it is crucial to gather all of the necessary evidence. Statements from witnesses, surveillance videos, police reports, and even the type and extent of damage to the vehicles can all be important in recreating the events of the accident and establishing liability. It’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted and that all necessary evidence is preserved.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, it’s important to act quickly and consult with an experienced car accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk offer free consultations and have been helping car accident victims for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.