When multi-vehicle accidents occur, they typically cause injury to one or more persons. Multi-accident vehicles are typically caused when one car rear-ends another car at a fast enough velocity to then cause the rear-ended car to hit another car. This type of accident is also called chain reaction accident. Given their nature, multi-vehicle accidents can cause a litany of legal questions to crop up. One of the primary questions that arise after someone is injured in a multi-vehicle accident is: who is at-fault for the injury?
Who Is Liable For The Chain Reaction Accident?
Determining causation of an injury in a multi-vehicle accident can be hard to pinpoint from a factual perspective. If the driver that caused the initial accident admits to being distracted or impaired while driving, establishing causation may be easy as that driver may appropriately be assigned 100% liability. However, what happens when one of the drivers does not admit to driving negligently or there is proof that multiple drivers involved in the multi-vehicle accident were driving negligently at the time of the accident? Moreover, what happens if the cause of the accident is merely the result of poor weather conditions?
In cases where multiple drivers may be to blame for injuries sustained in the accident, liability is assigned differently depending on which state the lawsuit is filed in. If the liable drivers are not the ones who have been injured in the crash, then these drivers may be held jointly and severally liable as joint tortfeasors for damages to the injured party or parties. This means that, while a jury or judge can find more than one driver at-fault, one of these at-fault drivers may be made to pay all of the damages awarded if none of the other drivers have assets sufficient to satisfy the damage award. Of course, if this occurs, the paying joint tortfeasor may have rights to obtain damages from the non-paying tortfeasors. This right can be exercised by filing a contribution claim against the non-paying joint tortfeasors.
In cases where multiple drivers are at-fault for the multi-vehicle accident, assigning liability among the drivers for the purpose of awarding damages may be more difficult if one of them is suing the others for his or her injuries. If this occurs, assigning liability follows the comparative negligence scheme, which is different depending on the state in which the lawsuit is filed. In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the modified comparative negligence scheme is used to assign liability. This means that even if the injured driver is partly to blame for the accident, he or she may still recover damages for his or her injuries as long as he or she is found by the fact-finder to be not more than 50% at-fault for the accident. In those cases where the injured driver is found to be 51% or more at-fault for the accident, then he or she will receive no monetary compensation for injuries sustained in the accident.
Still, in cases where there are poor weather conditions and all drivers are exercising reasonable care, multi-vehicle accidents may still occur. If this happens, then none of the drivers can be held liable and any injured driver will likely be unsuccessful in suing the other drivers for his or her injuries.
Contact a Lansdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Multi-Vehicle Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg, and Gifford represent clients injured because of a motor vehicle accident in Newtown, Doylestown, Lansdale, King of Prussia, Norristown and throughout PA. Call 215-822-7575 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2605 N. Broad St. Colmar, PA 18915, as well as an office in Newtown, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.