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Who Is At Fault in a Chain Reaction Car Accident?

Colburn Law

Car accidents are rarely straightforward. While some collisions involve only two vehicles and showcase obvious liability, others are more complex, sometimes involving three or more cars. Since Washington is a fault accident state, it is important to identify who is at fault in a chain-reaction car accident. However, the process can be complicated, requiring extensive investigation and the use of resources like expert witnesses and access to surveillance footage.

Identifying the Liable Party in a Multi-Vehicle Collision

Chain reaction accidents occur when one event causes a vehicle to crash, leading to other vehicles in the vicinity colliding with one another as well. In most chain reaction accident cases, the driver that caused the first accident is typically the at-fault party. For example, say that one driver collides into the rear of another vehicle. The impact from this initial collision causes the second driver to collide into the rear of a third vehicle, injuring the driver inside. In this situation, the first driver is responsible for the collision.

This scenario is not always the case, however. For example, say that a driver suddenly stops without warning or without flashing his or her brake lights. The vehicle behind this driver does not have enough time to react and crashes into the vehicle. The impact of the collision causes the first driver to crash into the car in front of him or her. In this situation, the at-fault party is the driver who failed to use his or her lights to warn the driver behind him or her.

Shared Fault in Chain Reaction Car Accidents

To identify the liable party in a chain reaction accident, it is important to reconstruct how the accident actually happened. Whoever’s actions caused the initial accident will likely be the responsible driver. However, there are some cases where multiple drivers may be responsible.

For example, say that one vehicle is traveling too close to the car in front of it. The front vehicle then suddenly stops without warning or flashing lights, causing the other driver to crash into it. This then starts a chain reaction accident. In this situation, both drivers involved in the initial collision would share fault for the accident.

Washington is a fault accident state, meaning that drivers have two options to secure compensation: an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the damages for all of the victims involved in the accident. If two drivers are at fault, however, they share financial responsibility for the collision. If one at-fault driver tries to collect compensation from the other, the insurance company may deny his or her claim.

If the driver attempts to file a lawsuit against the other liable party, the court may reduce his or her award according to Washington’s comparative negligence rules. For example, if the driver asks for a $40,000 award and the court finds him or her responsible for 50% of the accident, he or she will only receive $20,000.

Any type of chain reaction accident claim is complex, especially if multiple defendants are involved. In these situations, it is important to seek the help of a Washington car accident attorney. A lawyer can conduct an in-depth investigation into your collision, using resources such as accident reconstruction experts to identify the liable parties. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.