Chain Reaction/Multi-Vehicle Collisions
A so-called “chain reaction accident” is actually a series of collisions involving three or more vehicles. These multi-vehicle accidents can be extremely dangerous, often resulting in serious injuries and even tragic losses of life. If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a chain reaction crash, the Stuart car accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help you pursue maximum monetary compensation from any of the parties that may have contributed to the harm.Pursuing Compensation after a Chain Reaction Crash
Technically, a chain reaction accident happens any time that three or more vehicles are involved in related collisions, such as a red car running into the back of a blue truck and then a green SUV hitting the red car from behind. Occasionally, dozens of cars and trucks may be part of a multi-vehicle accident scene. One of the biggest challenges in any of these situations is determining fault. The driver who caused the first accident in the pileup is not necessarily liable for every collision that happened thereafter.
Car crash cases tend to arise under the law of negligence. In order to prove his or her case in court, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant was required to uphold a legal duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, and the breach was the proximate cause of damages to the plaintiff. Under the doctrine of pure comparative fault that is followed by Florida courts, the defendant may allege that the plaintiff was also at fault in the accident and seek a proportionate reduction in damages. This argument will not result in completely eliminating the plaintiff’s damages, though, unless the plaintiff was the only party who was responsible.
Since there may be several drivers who share the fault for the various events giving rise to a pileup, a prompt and thorough investigation is essential. This is the first step in the process of negotiating and litigating the various claims between the parties. The investigation may involve driver statements, police reports, eyewitness accounts, vehicle data recorder information, photographs of the accident scene, and the services of accident reconstruction experts.
Although any motor vehicle collision case has the potential to be more complex than it initially appears, chain reaction accidents are especially prone to complex litigation involving multiple parties, various claims, and several theories of liability. If any of the drivers involved in the accident was on the job at the time of the crash, for example, his or her employer may be brought into the case through the doctrine of respondeat superior, under which an employer may be liable for an employee’s negligent acts.
Product liability claims also may arise, alleging that defects in one or more of the vehicles contributed to the accident or worsened the injuries suffered by the occupants of that vehicle. Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance claims may ensue if one or more of the drivers at fault did not have adequate liability insurance to cover the claims of all those hurt by his or her actions. Governmental tort liability claims may need to be pursued as well, especially if issues concerning the design or maintenance of the roadway contributed to the crash.Enlist a Car Accident Lawyer in the Stuart Area
It requires an experienced motor vehicle collision lawyer to work through all of the issues that may be involved in a chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident case. Each issue must be dealt with in a timely fashion, since failing to bring a claim within the statute of limitations or statute of repose may be fatal to a plaintiff’s otherwise valid case. The knowledgeable and assertive Stuart car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston help injured people seek justice every day. We understand the legal system, and we will work hard to help you navigate through it. Call us at (772) 266-5555 in Stuart or (561) 299-3999 in West Palm Beach, or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We assist accident victims throughout St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties, including in Port St. Lucie, Jupiter, and West Palm Beach.