Who Is At Fault In A Multiple Vehicle Car Accident?
It is not uncommon to have more than one negligent party in a multiple vehicle car accident. While one driver’s negligence may have initiated the collision, one or more other drivers may also have contributed. Because of this, you may have numerous defendants and insurance companies trying to decide who is to blame.
Comparative Negligence is a rule of law applied in multiple party accident cases to determine responsibility and damages based on the negligence of every party directly involved in the accident. Each party’s negligence for injury is factored in when determining damages, and awarded compensation accordingly.
- Massachusetts uses the 51 percent comparative negligence rule, which is similar to several other states. Under the rule, plaintiffs can only recover if their share of the blame was less than 51 percent. If plaintiffs are 51 percent or more at fault, then they cannot recover at all, with only a few exceptions.
- Rhode Island is considered a “pure” comparative fault state. Pure comparative fault allows a damaged party to recover even if it is proven to be 99% at fault, although the recovery is reduced by the damaged party’s degree of fault.
Common Causes of Multi Vehicle Accidents
A multi-car accident can occur at slow speeds or at high speeds. Slow speed, chain reaction accidents frequently happen at stop lights when one vehicle fails to stop in time. At higher speeds, multi-vehicle accidents are often triggered by a driver losing control, resulting in numerous separate, yet interrelated, collisions. Here are some tips to avoid multiple vehicle car accidents:
- Don’t Speed – Driving fast leaves less time to react when a distracted driver cuts you off or runs through a stop light at an intersection. Follow posted speed limits and use caution.
- Avoid Distracted Driving – Distracted drivers are the number one cause of car accidents. This includes using any device/phone, eating, applying make-up and anything else that might pull your attention from the road. It can wait.
- Drive Sober – Driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis/THC and many prescription medications will slow down your judgement and reaction time. If you find yourself drunk or high in any way, sober up before you get behind the wheel or call an Uber.
- Weather effected conditions – Adjust your speed, pay extra attention and drive with extreme caution when the roads are snowy and icy. More multiple vehicle car accidents tend to happen during inclement winter weather.
With an increase of winter weather and snow accumulation across Massachusetts and Rhode Island, we see an uptick of highway car accidents and truck accidents. Snowy, icy, under-treated roads, combined with distracted drivers and people driving under the influence of alcohol and cannabis/THC on busy highways like I-95, I-195 and Route-24 can lead to dangerous multiple vehicle car accidents. One moment you’re carefully driving on a snowy Route 10 through Cranston, when a merging truck impacts another vehicle forcing them into your lane with no time to react. The collision can leave you with a totaled car and medical bills, asking yourself ‘Who is responsible for compensation?’.
D+Z: Experienced Car Accident Attorneys In Massachusetts & Rhode Island
If you or a family member have been left with injuries after a car accident, please contact us to speak with an experienced attorney. Dussault & Zatir P.C. has lawyers on call at +1-800-542-4LAW to answer your personal injury questions. With offices in New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton, Massachusetts, as well as an office in Providence, Rhode Island, if you’ve been injured, our lawyers are here to fight for you.
*The above is not to be considered as legal advice. Every case is different and the laws which apply may differ from state to state.
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