In California, “chain reaction” accidents are common to occur on congested highways such as the 5, 405 and 101.
Multi-car accidents usually happen when three or more cars collide at once or shortly following the initial impact of the first car. This force usually causes a chain reaction that leads to multiple rear-end accidents and in worst-case scenarios a pile-up. When the first car that caused the crash collides with the second car, this causes the second car to shunt forward and continue the momentum. These types of accidents are also called “chain reaction” car accidents. These are less common, but they do tend to happen sometimes.
Even though, the final result can be due to the negligence of one car, sometimes cases involved the negligence of multiple drivers. Many people, including passengers in any of these cars, may sustain injuries. Therefore, litigating the resulting personal injury lawsuit can be particularly challenging. Using a local personal injury lawyer to help guide through this complicated case is always a wise decision.
If you are a victim of multi-car accidents, it’s important to make sure you are okay and to get the insurance information with all the drivers that are involved in the accident. You also want to make sure you look into all eyewitnesses and get their contact information and make sure a police report gets created and you get a copy. You should try to obtain photographs of the scene, including skid marks, vehicle debris and property damage from multiple angles. If you have sustained an injury and need to seek medical attention, please so do. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after the multi-car accident to make sure that all relevant evidence is immediately identified and documented. The more evidence you have collected from the scene, the better your case and claim can be.
At The End, Whose Fault Was the Chain Reaction Accident?
The biggest question in chain-reaction car accidents in California is who was at fault? Pinpointing causation can be tricky from a factual perspective. In a case where a driver admits to being distracted and being the first car to rear-end another car in a line of cars, it may be appropriate to assign that driver 100% liability. Often, however, there are other issues at play:
- Bad weather
- Road Construction
- Another car accident
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Aggressive driving
In many states across the United States, the jury in the court will look at all evidence and assign fault to each driver as they deem fit. California however, is a “fault” state. One of these defendants may, in turn, claim that the plaintiff was negligent, and the jury will also assign a percentage of fault to the plaintiff. At the end of the day, it all depends on the state the accident occurred and their laws that determines whether any of the parties can claim compensation for the multi-car accident.
In states following the doctrine of comparative negligence, any claimant’s recovery will be reduced by his own percentage of fault. In the legal system, there are two types of comparative negligence:
- Pure comparative negligence
- Modified comparative negligence
Depending on the state, the comparative negligence laws are harsher than others. For example, if you get in an accident in a state like that, a claimant could not recover compensation even if he or she was 1% or more at fault for the multi-car accident. In those states, only the driver who is 0% at fault would be likely to recover any form of compensation. At the end of the day, all this fine print is difficult for citizen’s of California to understand unless you were an experienced car accident attorney. Krasney Law has practiced law for many years in California. If you have been in a chain reaction accident, make sure to call us at (909) 380-7200 for a free consultation today!