Involvement in a car accident is unfortunate and can have devastating consequences. This is especially true for multi-vehicle accidents. A multi-vehicle accident is a car accident involving three or more vehicles. They are commonly called “chain-reaction accidents” because of how they play out. They usually begin with a single collision that causes either driver to lose control or to react, hitting other vehicles as a result. This destructive cycle repeats when these other vehicles in turn lose control or react, and hit even more vehicles.
MULTI-VEHICLE ACCIDENT TRAUMA
Multi-vehicle accidents are incredibly dangerous. Their capacity to inflict significant injuries arises from the unique threats they pose. Drivers involved in a multi-vehicle accident are at a high risk of being struck more than once. These accidents are also notorious for causing fires and leaving victims trapped in their cars. Consequently, victims commonly suffer severe physical and psychological trauma.
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION VERSUS A THIRD-PARTY INSURANCE CLAIM OR LAWSUIT
Fortunately, New York is a no-fault insurance state. All insured New York motorists carry personal injury protection, or PIP benefits, that will cover medical expenses and lost wages in the event of an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Unfortunately, these benefits offer limited compensation. Multi-vehicle car accident victims who suffer injuries that PIP benefits can not adequately cover will need to pursue options where fault is at issue. This can be handled in one of two ways: by filing an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company (known as a third-party claim) or by filing a lawsuit.
HOW FAULT IS DETERMINED
New York employs a pure comparative negligence model. This means each driver is responsible only for his or her percentage of fault. It also means drivers can recover compensation even if they are partly to blame for the accident. This is especially significant where multiple vehicles are involved.
In some cases, determining fault in a multi-vehicle car accident is relatively straightforward. For example, in the case Kaur versus Singh, Ms. Kaur was stopped at a red light when another vehicle struck the front of her vehicle, causing her to collide with several other vehicles. The court determined Ms. Kaur bore no fault for the accident.
Most times, however, the fault inquiry is complicated in multi-vehicle accidents. Given the number of vehicles involved, it is often difficult to determine precisely what happened. Drivers hoping to recover compensation face the complex task of proving other drivers’ proportions of fault. Our process in these cases involves meticulously combing through various sources of evidence. We:
- interview eyewitnesses
- consult video evidence
- assess vehicle damage, and
- hire accident reconstructionists.
Another important law to consider is New York’s Joint and Several Liability Law. This law allows an injured driver to recover one-hundred percent of their losses from just a single at-fault party, even if multiple parties were at fault in the accident. Unsuspecting drivers can incur liability grossly disproportionate to their level of fault if they are not careful. This is yet another reason why you should contact a qualified attorney.
At Rosenblum Law, we are sensitive to the devastating impact of a multi-vehicle accident. Our decades of experience successfully litigating these cases make us well-qualified to get just compensation for victims. If you or a loved one has been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation.