Chain Reaction / Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Multi-vehicle accidents are often chain reactions. They occur when three or more vehicles strike each other in a chain of rear-endings that happen because of the force of the first crash. For example, one driver may be distracted and hit someone else who has stopped in traffic. The force from this collision may propel the second driver forward so that a third driver is rear-ended, and so on. When these accidents happen at high speeds on the highway, they may result in serious injuries. If you are involved in a chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident, you should consult the experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Sharifi Firm. We may be able to help you pursue compensation.Determining Liability in Multi-Vehicle Collisions
Many chain reaction accidents are the fault of the furthest back driver. In California, all drivers have a duty to use reasonable care. Part of using reasonable care means that drivers are required to follow at a safe distance, leaving enough space between vehicles. However, not every chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident is the fault of only one driver. Sometimes multiple drivers are negligent.
To establish the negligence of a particular driver, you will to need to prove the other driver's duty of care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate (legal) causation, and actual damages. In some cases, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to determine which drivers are at fault and each person’s percentage of responsibility. The expert can look at the damage to each vehicle, the police report, skid marks, debris, deposition testimony, and eyewitness narratives.
Multi-vehicle accidents often involve multiple drivers who acted with a lack of reasonable care. If more than one driver is at fault, the doctrine of comparative negligence probably will be raised. Under this doctrine, the jury will evaluate the total damages and also assign a percentage of fault to each party alleged to be at fault. The plaintiff's recovery will be reduced by his or her degree of fault, but it will not be eliminated unless he or she was completely responsible for causing the accident.
Joint and several liability may also come into play if multiple people are at fault for an accident. Under the pure form of this doctrine, a plaintiff can sue and recover the full amount of damages from any defendant, irrespective of his or her degree of fault. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure that a plaintiff does not bear the burden of paying for bills if he or she was not responsible for the accident, in the event that one or more drivers are uninsured. In California, jointly and severally liable defendants can recover a contribution from other at-fault drivers for economic damages like medical bills. However, the liability of each defendant for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of activities, remains several only.Consult a Los Angeles Attorney after a Car Accident
Chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident cases can be complex. The knowledgeable Los Angeles lawyers at Sharifi Firm can work with experienced accident reconstruction experts and understand the laws associated with liability and the apportionment of damages. Our motor vehicle collision attorneys also represent injured individuals in San Bernardino, Riverside, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, and Temecula, among other Southern California cities. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or use our online form to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.