What is a Multi-Car Pile-Up?
Multi-car accidents happen when three or more cars collide in the same accident. In most cases, it entails a series of rear-end accidents due to the force of an initial collision between two cars. In a typical car accident involving two vehicles, it can be complex to prove liability, and it gets more complicated in a multi-car crash.
Many people believe that the drivers of the first and last cars in a multi-car accident are to blame for the crash, but that’s not always true. Liability must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Top-rated New York personal injury lawyers can help you determine liability and file a compensation claim against the negligent party or parties for your damages.
Why Do Multi-Vehicle Accidents Happen?
Some of the common reasons why pile-up accidents in New York include the following:
- Reckless or aggressive driving, such as overtaking in the wrong lane;
- Distracted driving, such as texting or eating while driving;
- Speeding above the stipulated limits;
- Drivers falling asleep at the wheel;
- Failing to check blind spots or follow traffic signals; and
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Skilled New York car accident lawyers can help you establish if any of these factors contributed to your car accident. Based on their findings, they can help you create a strong case to support your compensation claim.
How is Fault Determined in a Multi-Car Accident?
A unique feature of multi-car accidents is that they are often a result of two or more factors, making it hard to determine liability at the first instance. In some types of chain-reaction accidents, one driver may be at fault, while several drivers may be at fault in other cases, as follows:
The Classic Chain Reaction
This is where one car rear-ends another, creating a chain reaction involving at least three vehicles. The scenario may present a unique exception to the usual rule where the driver at the rear end is typically at fault.
To determine who was at fault, your car accident lawyers in New York may have to conduct an on-scene forensic investigation to determine if the driver who hit you was careless or their car was pushed into yours when theirs was rear-ended. It could also be a combination of other factors that your lawyers can determine based on the evidence they collect.
The scenario is complex but generally involves a chain of cars. Imagine a scenario with four vehicles. The third car rear-ends the second one, and the collision causes both cars to stop suddenly. Due to the sudden stop, the fourth car comes along and hits the third, causing a chain reaction up to the first car.
In this case, the third car’s driver may be at fault even though the fourth one caused the chain reaction. Determining actual liability in such a case requires an in-depth investigation into the factors that caused the collision and strategic negotiation. Your chances of winning your claim are high with experienced car accident attorneys in New York.
Intersection Multi-Car Accident
In another scenario, two vehicles may collide at an intersection, with one of the cars hitting a third one in a secondary collision. In this case, determining liability may call for identifying the party responsible for the first collision. Since the first collision directly led to the secondary one, both crashes may be attributed to the same causal factors.
However, a prompt on-scene investigation will still be necessary to prove fault. Your personal injury attorneys in New York may also seek evidence from other sources to determine responsibility and liability conclusively.
The Phantom Hit-and-Run Multi-Car Accident
In this case, a car hits another from the rear, but claims they were not actually in the rear, but the liable party sped away after the collision. Sometimes that’s the truth, and at other times, the party making that claim could be lying.
It calls for the input of highly skilled and experienced attorneys to analyze the facts and determine liability to protect you from being taken advantage of in that situation.
Head-on Multi-Car Pile-Up
When a collision between two oncoming cars causes other cars to crash, it’s usually because a car gets into the wrong lane and hits an oncoming vehicle, starting a chain reaction of rear-end crashes. The driver that drifts into oncoming traffic is usually at fault for the accident and damages.
What is New York’s “Joint and Several Liability” Law?
If you were involved in a multi-vehicle collision and want to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver, the “Joint and Several Liability” law could play a role in determining how much you can recover for the damages. Under this law, even if multiple parties are found to be liable, you can pursue total compensation for all your injuries from a single at-fault party.
That means it may not be necessary to identify all the at-fault parties in the multi-car pile-up accident. However, other factors, like the availability of insurance coverage, come into play. Consult your New York personal injury attorney to determine the best way to pursue a claim.
An Experienced Accident Lawyer Helping You Determine Liability in a Multi-Car Crash
Being involved in a multi-car pile-up can be confusing because you don’t know who to hold liable for the damages. Multiple factors influence the outcome of the case, and only experienced car accident attorneys in New York can help you navigate the complex matter. They can put their skills to work to investigate the circumstances leading to the accident and help you file a claim.
The lawyers at our law firm have been providing legal counsel and representation to clients involved in various types of car crashes. We provide caring attention and efficient service to help clients recover the compensation amount they deserve. Knowing that someone is advocating for your rights can ease the stress associated with the car accident. Get in touch today.