The number of citywide motor vehicle collisions in New York has been around 16,000 per month lately, leaving thousands of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians injured and killed. Many of these accidents involve just one or two cars, while others are the result of chain reaction accidents. These types of accidents involve three or more cars and create complex circumstances for determining fault and pursuing damages.
This article will explore what causes rear-end collisions and the process of determining who is at fault in a rear-end collision involving 3 cars or more.
What Causes Rear-End Collisions?
It is estimated that rear-end collisions make up about one-third of all automobile accidents, and these types of accidents can result in serious injuries even if it only appears to be a “fender-bender” at first. Rear-end collisions are often caused when the driver in front brakes very suddenly and doesn’t give the following car enough time to brake.
These collisions also result when a driver is following another car too closely and cannot stop in a reasonable amount of time. Heavy traffic, road rage, and driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or fatigue are all factors that lead to rear-end collisions and pile-ups of three or more cars.
Common Chain Reaction Accident Scenarios
One common scenario that we see far too often here in Brooklyn is when a driver is following another car too closely and can’t stop in time, thereby slamming into the first car and subsequently being hit by a third car from behind. Chain reaction accidents are common when a driver loses control before rear-ending another car or is pushed into another car from behind. A chain reaction can also occur if a driver rear-ends the preceding car and pushes that car into the middle of an intersection and in the way of oncoming traffic.
Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision Involving 3 Cars?
One of the trickiest things about rear-end collisions involving three or more cars is determining fault and pursuing a liability claim. Making this determination involves finding out which driver was negligent because of carelessness or recklessness. But in some instances, more than one driver was negligent, and then it is a matter of dividing up each driver’s share of liability.
Something important to consider is what constitutes a safe following distance that allows enough room for a driver to stop safely. If it is determined that a driver was not maintaining a safe following distance, that driver will almost always be found at fault. In a three-car pile-up, a careless driver who rear-ends a car and pushes that car out into traffic at an intersection could be held liable for damages for all of the cars involved. If after a two-car rear-ending accident, a third car is unable to stop and crashes into the accident, the driver of the third car could be held liable for the initial victim’s injuries as well.
In court, a judge or jury will assign fault to each responsible defendant or perhaps even find that the plaintiff was partially negligent too. In New York, plaintiffs can recover personal injury damages even if they are partially responsible for multi-car accidents. However, their recovery amount will be proportionally lower based on the percentage they are found to be at fault.
How a Brooklyn Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
As you can see, determining fault in a multi-car pile-up can be a complex matter, which is why it’s good to know an experienced auto accident attorney if it should ever happen to you. The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum has worked on many rear-end collision accidents involving three or more vehicles, and we know what it takes to find out who’s at fault in these situations and get you the compensation you deserve.
If you are involved in a chain reaction accident, police reports, eyewitness accounts, on-scene evidence, and proof of vehicular damage can help us pursue your case. We’ll obtain the relevant evidence, explain the next steps to you as your case moves through the legal process, and fight for you every step of the way. Regardless of the circumstances, it is in your best interest to seek professional help if your multi-car accident involves significant injuries or if someone is trying to place the blame on you.
Contact us day or night at 718-237-5586 or send us a message to discuss your rights and get a free consultation with one of our attorneys.