Chain Reaction Car Accidents

Car accidents involving three or more motorists can induce serious life-changing injuries. These types of multi-vehicle accidents tend to be much deadlier than a standard motor vehicle crash. Chain reaction car accidents can create traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, whiplash, and other severe injuries. Usually, these accidents are caused by negligent drivers who are acting recklessly or are grossly unaware of their surroundings.

In these accidents the most common question asked is: who’s at fault? Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn’t always straight forward. Although it may seem unbelievable, there are cases where an injured plaintiff is accused of negligence by other at-fault drivers since discovering the trigger for a chain reaction car accident can be complicated. For that reason and many more, we highly encourage you to contact an experienced Washington auto accident attorney for legal representation.

Multi Vehicle Accident Attorney, Bellingham WA | Whatcom County

Have you recently been involved in a car accident with multiple vehicles? If so, it’s within your best interest to secure legal representation as soon as possible. For experienced and skilled counsel, contact PNW Trial Lawyers. Our knowledgeable lawyers can examine the facts of your case and begin working tirelessly towards a settlement or monetary award fit to cover your damages.

Schedule your first consultation with the attorneys at PNW Trial Lawyers by calling our office at (360) 483-5201 or simply submitting an online contact form. PNW Trial Lawyers serves clients in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Snohomish County including Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, Everett, and Anacortes.

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Causes for Accidents with Multiple Vehicles

Car pileups or multi vehicle accidents happen due to a variety of external and internal factors. In most cases, however, a chain reaction car accident is caused by one person’s gross negligence—whether that negligence takes the form of recklessness, carelessness, or being grossly unaware of their surroundings. In some cases, a multi-vehicle car accident is caused by a combination of causes.

The following are some common reasons why a multiple vehicle crash may occur.

  • Distracted Drivers – It’s no surprise drivers are more distracted than ever these days thanks to smartphones and other technology. Drivers who are talking on the phone, texting, eating, changing the radio station, etc. are not paying attention to the road and therefore are increasing their chances of getting into an accident.
  • “Rubbernecking” – After an accident or if an interesting incident has occurred on the road, some motorists will slow down and diver their attention to the event. This is often referred to as “rubbernecking,” and can be the cause of a chain reaction accident. Drivers who suddenly slow down and fail to pay attention to the traffic around them could be the reason for a multi vehicle collision.
  • Speeding – There’s a reason why the State and city authorities implement speed limits. They keep the general public safe and ensure motorists are operating their vehicles at a speed appropriate for the road. Drivers who fail to follow these limits increase the chances of a serious chain reaction accident as they may not have the reaction time needed to turn away from another vehicle.
  • Fatigued Drivers – Motorists who are sleep deprived or generally experiencing fatigue are not alert enough to operate a vehicle. This is especially common for commercial truck drivers as they often are required to drive long hours. Drivers who are fatigued, drowsy, or are generally impaired due to loss of sleep should not get behind the wheel.
  • Construction Zones – Construction zones are necessary, but they are a hotbed for chain reaction accidents as navigating these areas can be confusing without proper signage and guidance. Drivers must also be vigilant and follow directorial signs if they wish to avoid a collision. Since drivers constantly stop and slow down in a construction zone, a multiple vehicle accident is very possible.

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Types of Chain Reaction Car Accidents

Multiple car collisions can occur in various ways, but most chain reaction accidents can be classified into three different categories. These classifications include:

  • Rear-End Collisions – When drivers fail to have enough space between vehicles, it increases the chance of an accident dramatically. Being too close to another motorist is also known as “tailgating,” and it can lead to serious multi vehicle accidents. If a driver tailgates another, any sudden stop could result in a serious rear-end collision. The accident can easily become a chain reaction if the road is congested.
  • Accidents at Intersections – The majority of multiple vehicle accidents occur at busy and congested intersections. The reason for this is that these types of roadways have various exit and entry points—which can be dangerous if they aren’t clearly marked. Due to this, drivers who are barreling through an intersection could potentially cause a chain reaction collision.
  • Multi Car Accidents on the Highway – Another common area where multi vehicle accidents occur is on freeways or highways. This is because drivers may not be prepared to slow down in time if the highway suddenly becomes congested, therefore causing a chain reaction collision. Another common scenario where a chain accident may occur on the highway is when one driver swerves out of the way for stopped/damaged vehicles to only then strike another vehicle. In the end, this can cause a car pileup.

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Liability in a Multi Vehicle Accident

After a multi-vehicle accident, the most common question asked is who is liable for this? Chain reaction car accidents can occur in a split second, so it can be extremely difficult to determine who is at-fault. The issue is further complicated by the fact these types of accidents comprise of multiple motorists striking multiple vehicles. Not to mention it’s no surprise any other drivers involved in the accident will not be too keen on admitting fault after the accident or during insurance negotiations. 

In a chain reaction car accident, there can technically be multiple at-fault parties. In most cases, the person who initially started the accident is at-fault, but other drivers in the pileup could be held partially responsible for damages. The reason for this is that per the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Section 4.33.005 states multiple people can be at fault due to pure comparative negligence. What this means is that multiple drivers can carry some percentage of liability in a car accident.

The percentage will be determined by the facts of the collision. Injured victims of chain reaction car accidents can pursue legal compensation for damages if it’s discovered they are less than 50% at fault. If successful with their claim, the injured plaintiff will be given either a monetary award or settlement based on their damages. Some recoverable damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Car repairs
  • Lost earnings
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Therapy costs
  • Loss of enjoyment for life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering

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Additional Resources

Annual Car Crash Statistics in Washington– Visit the official website for the Washington State Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and find more information surrounding various car accidents in the State. Access the site to read the data regarding multi-vehicle accidents, accidents involving pedestrians, accidents by location, and the rate of fatalities in Washington.

Superior Court Civil Rules in Washington State– Visit the official website for Washington State Courts to gain access to their Superior Court Civil Rules. Learn more about the how to file a claim with commencement of action, the trial process for civil suits, the steps for discovery, judgements, and other important information.

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Chain Reaction Car Accident Lawyer in Bellingham, WA

If you or someone you know has been injured or lost a loved one in a chain reaction car accident, then it’s within your best interest to contact PNW Trial Lawyers. With years of personal injury experience, our legal team is more than prepared to take on your case—no matter how complicated. Let us examine the facts of your injury and help you get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

Call PNW Trial Lawyers at (360) 483-5201 to set up your first consultation or simply submit an online contact form. 

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