A chain reaction car accident happens when three or more cars hit each other in a series of rear end crashes that are usually caused by the force of the first crash. A typical example of a chain reaction car accident is as follows:
Driver D – Driver C – Driver B – Driver A
What often happens is driver B rear ends the car in front of him which is driver A. Because driver C was behind driver C too closely and was not able to stop in time, driver C also rear ends driver B. The same thing happens behind driver C, with driver D also not able to stop on time to avoid hitting driver C. Another issue with this type of accident is the force of the crash between driver B and driver A could send driver A’s car into the next car in the line and cause yet another chain reaction crash.
Chain reaction crashes can involve several different drivers who each were acting in a reckless fashion, so auto insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits in these matters can get complicated. Below are some of the different issues that can come up in car crashes that involve chain reaction events.
Who Was At Fault?
If you file a claim or lawsuit against another driver after a chain reaction crash, you have to prove who was negligent. Determining who was negligent in a chain reaction crash is usually a matter of determining with act of recklessness caused the crash. Or, if more than one driver was responsible, it is necessary to determine the share of liability for each driver.
One of the most important factors in determining who was fat fault is the rule of the road that sates that the driver must have a safe following distance between their car and the one in front of them. This is so they can stop in time and avoid any hazards in the road or an unexpected situation. A driver that does not maintain a safe following distance and then hits the car in front of them is usually considered negligent.
But what if your vehicle is pushed into the car in front of your because you were hit from behind? In the scenario outlined at the start of this article, driver A has to establish what happened that led to driver B rear ending driver A. Did driver C rear end driver B and push driver B into driver A? If this is what happened, then driver C is at fault for driving in a reckless fashion and not leaving adequate stopping distance. If this is what happened, driver C is probably at fault for the accident and would be financially responsible to driver A and B for damages from the crash.
But what if driver B rear ends driver A and then driver C, who cannot stop in time, rear ends driver B? In this situation, driver A would be hit more than once, and driver C and driver B would have to pay driver A for damages from the crash. Driver A may be able to file a lawsuit against both drivers.
If we bring driver D into the matter, it gets even more complicated. Driver B could hit driver A from behind, who could then hit B, and D could then strike C. Driver D may cause the chain reaction crash himself by striking driver C from the rear and send C into B and then B into A.
However a chain reaction car accident occurs, there are several ways to determine the order of the impacts and who was negligent and to what degree. These are:
- Eyewitness crash accounts, such as your own, those of the passengers in each vehicle, and drivers of the cars behind you
- Police reports that are filed related to the crash, such as the reporting officer’s determination of what happened
- Damage to vehicles
- Evidence from the accident scene