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Who is at Fault in a Chain-Reaction Car Accident?

April 25, 2022 | Car Accident

Chain-reaction collisions can lead to extensive property damage and serious injuries for those involved. However, determining liability for these incidents can be incredibly challenging, typically because there are so many parties involved and various “he said, she said” statements for investigators to go through. Here, we want to discuss some false scenarios for chain-reaction collisions that occur in West Virginia.

Understanding Chain-Reaction Collisions

Intuitively, most people understand what you mean if you say “chain-reaction collision.” A chain-reaction car crash in West Virginia is one that involves multiple vehicles. Typically, most individuals will see a chain-reaction collision definition as including more than two vehicles, and it is not uncommon for up to four, five, six, or more vehicles to be involved in these types of collisions.

Chain-reaction collisions occur in a wide variety of ways, far too many to sum up in a single article. In most cases, a chain-reaction collision begins with the negligence of one or more drivers causing a collision and then the outcome of the initial collision affecting other vehicles in the vicinity.

For example, let us suppose that one vehicle stops at a stop sign correctly but is then rear-ended by another vehicle. At this point, there are a number of things that can happen. The initial collision could push the first vehicle out into the intersection, where that vehicle could be impacted by cross traffic. At that point, other vehicles that have the right of way could become involved in the collision.

Another common area where chain-reaction collisions occur is on highways. If an initial collision occurs on the highway, maybe due to a vehicle hydroplaning on water or sliding on ice, that vehicle could crash into another vehicle or the median and lead to a pileup chain-reaction collision.

Determining Fault and Understanding Partial Fault

Determining fault in the aftermath of a West Virginia chain-reaction car accident can be challenging. Police officers will come to the scene of the accident, and it is very likely that insurance carriers and legal teams for other parties involved will investigate the incident. Various types of evidence will need to be used, including photographs from the scene, possible video surveillance, statements from eyewitnesses and drivers involved, and more.

It may certainly be possible for only one driver to be at fault. Maybe one driver caused an initial collision that led to all other collisions inside of the chain reaction. However, it is not uncommon for more than one driver to be at fault for these incidents. For example, all drivers should take steps to not follow other vehicles too closely in order to avoid collisions. In a chain reaction, it is not uncommon for the “chain” to continue because travelers are following each other too closely on the roadway.

When it comes to partial fault, this can reduce the amount of compensation a person receives. Individuals can still receive compensation if they are less than 50% responsible for the incident under West Virginia’s comparative negligence law. However, the total amount of compensation a person receives will be reduced depending on their percentage of fault.

Contact an Attorney

We strongly encourage any chain-reaction collision victims to reach out to an accident attorney to help them recover compensation for their losses. A lawyer will use their resources to handle every aspect of the claim so the crash victim only has to focus on recovering from their injuries.