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You’ve probably seen news stories about multi-car pileups and huge crashes on local highways, like I-95, I-75, or the Sawgrass Expressway.
How do “chain reaction” car crashes occur, and how do the police determine who is responsible?
Chain reaction accidents occur when two or more cars are involved in a crash, typically in a bumper-to-bumper collision. Unfortunately, these multi-vehicle pileups too often result in serious injuries and complicated auto insurance claims.
Chain reaction accidents typically occur when visibility is bad, especially in high traffic areas where there is nowhere for vehicles to go once they come upon a crash that they weren’t expecting to encounter. Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers attest that chain reaction accidents can be extremely dangerous because they often result in serious injuries and can be complicated by vehicle fires and by difficulties in getting first-responders to survivors. It can also be hard to determine who is legally liable and who should be held responsible for the crash.
Fort Lauderdale accident attorney David Fuchs has more than two decades of experience and is dedicated to representing accident victims throughout Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade.
Chain reaction accidents can happen in any situation where two cars are involved and more vehicles proceed to hit the disabled vehicles, which may cause an untold number of secondary collisions. Low visibility is a major factor as the more difficult it is to see the road and the disabled vehicles, the more likely it is that a multi-car pileup will occur.
These crashes have a domino effect and they most often occur at traffic stops or on narrow roads with adjacent lanes of traffic. Here are a few scenarios in which a chain reaction accident occur:
Some of the factors that can contribute to chain reaction accidents include:
In some cases, the Florida Highway Patrol or other state agencies can bear some responsibility for chain reaction accidents if their negligence contributed in some way to the crash. For example, if the state agency should have closed a road due to dangerous low visibility and failed to do so, then it can be considered partially responsible for causing the accident.
When a state agency shares the blame, then the case becomes very complicated. Government agencies enjoy limited protections from immunity and there are special rules and timelines for taking legal action against them. A Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer should be consulted for help in pursuing your claim for damages.
When a chain reaction accident occurs, it is possible to take legal action. You may file a personal injury lawsuit in Fort Lauderdale and can present your case in court for a jury to decide liability and damages or you may settle your case outside of court for a reasonable damage award.
Before you can take action, however, you need to know who was negligent and who should be held responsible, or liable, for the crash. Determining liability can be complex in these types of collisions.
Often, the driver who created the first crash is liable for injuries, but as we’ve shown, drivers can share fault. In fact, even public agencies can share fault for an accident if there are preventable hazards on the road. Examples of other negligent behavior that can contribute to a multi-vehicle accident include:
In addition, it is also necessary to assess whether any state agency or third party played a role in causing the crash or exacerbating the severity of the injuries.
The party or parties responsible for causing the accident can be held responsible for compensating you for:
At the same time, there are also instances in which no one is responsible for a car crash. A common example is when a chain reaction occurs as a result of black ice or another inclement weather condition. Another might be a driver losing consciousness at the wheel as the result of a medical condition. In these examples, it’s possible that no one is responsible, and each driver seeks compensation from their own insurance companies.
In the event that one or more parties are responsible for a serious chain accident, an independent investigation becomes necessary. A car accident lawyer can complete an accident reconstruction and determine which parties are at fault for serious injuries.
This makes it possible for the victim to seek additional compensation to pay for damages, including immaterial losses like pain, suffering, and any loss in life quality. To reconstruct an accident, attorneys use tools like:
If you’ve sustained an injury in a multi-vehicle accident, hire a car accident attorney to represent you and find the parties responsible. Because the damages may be very high, especially if you have suffered permanent injury or disability, you need to make the determination on who is liable and you need to take legal action. A Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer can help.