Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries in California today. According to a 2015 report by the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), more than 250,000 people were injured and more than 3,000 died in collisions that year.
While the most common types of car accidents in The Golden State are rollovers, rear-end collisions, and hit and run, multiple car collisions are not uncommon. Chain reaction car accidents are a type of multiple car collision, and just like any other vehicular accident, establishing who’s at fault is vital so that those who were injured can be justly recompensed.
What Is a Chain Reaction Car Accident?
A chain reaction accident occurs when three or more vehicles are caught up in a series of collisions. It starts when one car crashes with such force that it causes other nearby vehicles to hit each another. These types of accidents typically happen in traffic stops, narrow roads, and other places where vehicles are in close proximity.
To better illustrate the concept, some examples are given below:
Chain Reaction (Example A)
Suppose Car B and Car C have stopped at an intersection. Car C is in front while Car B is behind. Then, all of a sudden, Car A arrives behind Car B and is unable to stop in time and collides with Car B. With the force of the initial collision, Car B is then propelled towards Car C, leading to another collision. The end result is a chain reaction car accident involving three vehicles.
Chain Reaction (Example B)
Car A is driving behind Car B, when all of a sudden Car B stops without warning. Car A crashes into Car B, resulting in the first accident. Car C then comes along driving too fast and collides with the vehicle in front (Car A). Another car, Car D, which isn’t driving at a safe distance behind Car C, is startled by the pileup and ends up joining it. The end result is a chain reaction car accident involving four vehicles.
As complicated as chain reaction car accidents can be, determining the party or parties at fault is vital if you want to seek redress in a personal injury lawsuit.
Establishing Who’s at Fault
Typically, the driver who initiated the first crash is deemed responsible for the multi-vehicle crash. However, as outlined in the aforementioned examples, other motorists and even public agencies may be partly to blame for the collisions. If you were injured in such a collision and are seeking compensation from the at-fault parties, it’s vital to prove that each of these parties was negligent.
Scenarios Where Other Drivers May Be at Fault
- A driver who was speeding or driving too fast in his lane.
- A motorist who was following too closely and ended up rear-ending the drivers in front.
- Texting or distracted drivers who were unable to react swiftly to the first crashes.
- Incompetent drivers who were unable to use their brakes or signals.
Scenarios Where Institutions May Be at Fault
- A public agency that failed to clear a road of obstacles, causing drivers to break abruptly.
- A public agency that failed to install or maintain the proper traffic signs.
Scenarios Where No One May Be at Fault, or Fault May Be Reduced
- Crashes that were caused by inclement weather, such as wet or frozen roads.
- Accidents that were caused by natural hazards on the road such as ice patches or sinkholes.
- Collisions that were inadvertently caused by the driver, such as losing consciousness behind the wheel due to a medical condition.
How to Establish Proof of Fault
Although it may sound similar to determining who’s at fault, establishing proof of fault is needed to bolster your claim that the other party was negligent. Below are some ways to determine proof of fault:
- Eyewitness accounts
- Security camera footage
- Evidence at the scene, such as vehicle positioning, vehicle damage, and skid marks
- Police reports about or related to the accident
Seek the Legal Expertise of a Savvy Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a multi-vehicle accident and are seeking damages against the parties at fault, it’s best to go about the process with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles-based car accident lawyer.
Mesriani Law Group’s team of savvy car accident lawyers will perform a thorough and skilled investigation on your behalf to establish the at-fault party’s negligence. With the help of legal experts, your chances of getting just compensation to cover all of the suffering and damages you’ve incurred are increased.