How is Fault Determined in Multiple-Car Accidents in New York?

Car accidents can be very complicated to sort out. Many accidents involve multiple cars, with each driver accusing the others of being responsible.

Proving fault in a car accident case means showing that each driver involved was somehow negligent. Fault is not always shared evenly, and some drivers might bear a greater degree of fault than others. If your case is successful, each defendant must pay according to their share of the blame. Those with a greater share must pay more. Multiple-car accidents often happen in chain reactions, with one car striking another, and then that car strikes a third car, and so on. Other times, a multi-car accident happens all at once, like a pile-up. Immediately after a car accident, you should call for help and remain at the scene.

If you were injured in a car accident involving multiple cars, our New York car accident lawyers can help you file a lawsuit to get compensation. Call the team at The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free evaluation of your case.

Proving Fault in Multiple-Car Accidents in New York

Proving fault in a multiple-car accident lawsuit requires proving that each driver involved is negligent. Since there is more than one defendant in your lawsuit, there may be multiple ways you can prove each one is at fault. This is often a very complicated endeavor, and our Bronx car accident lawyers can help you begin your case.

Negligence is broken down into the four legal elements of duty, breach, causation, and damages. Duty refers to the defendant’s legal duty of care toward the plaintiff. In car accident cases, the defendant owes a duty to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances.

The breach is how the duty is violated. In a multi-car accident with several defendants, each defendant must be found to be in breach of their duty. This could involve speeding, running lights, failing to obey traffic signs, or something else. Causation is what connects the breach to the accident. Each defendants’ actions must have directly caused the accident and your injuries. Finally, you must show that your damages are real and not just possibilities if things had been worse.

When dealing with multiple defendants after a multi-car accident, you must prove that each defendant was negligent. It is possible that some drivers involved in the crash were not negligent, and you can work with your attorney to sort these drivers out.

Who Pays Compensation in Multi-Car Accidents in New York?

New York is a no-fault insurance state; meaning injured drivers are required to file personal injury protection (PIP) claims first. In no-fault states, drivers can file PIP claims with their own insurance first rather than the other drivers’ insurance. If your PIP insurance does not fully cover your damages and you can prove you suffered serious injuries, you may be permitted to file a personal injury lawsuit.

According to ISC Law § 5102(d), a serious injury is one that results in death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement, broken bones, loss of pregnancy, loss of bodily organs or functions, or anything else that prevents the injured person from performing ordinary daily tasks.

You may have multiple defendants you wish to hold liable in a multiple-car collision. Each defendant is responsible for paying your damages at the end of your case. Typically, the court will assign a percentage of blame to each defendant, and they are responsible for paying that portion of your damages. Our Brooklyn car accident lawyers can help you hold these drivers liable and get your much-needed compensation.

For example, suppose you file a lawsuit against 3 other drivers after a car accident and win. Next, suppose driver A is 25% liable, driver B is 25% liable, and driver C is 50% liable. In that case, drivers A and B would pay for 25% of your damages each, and driver C would pay the remaining 50%.

The defendants in a multi-car crash are joint and severally liable. This means they are all equally responsible for paying, and if one driver cannot or will not pay, the others must cover that driver’s share of the damages. If a driver in your case refuses to pay, you can demand payment from the other defendants.

Examples of Multiple-Car Accidents in New York

Multi-car collisions can happen in numerous ways. Often, they are chain reactions on busy highways. Other times, the cars all seem to collide at once. Depending on how your accident happened, our Queens car accident lawyers can help you determine who should be held liable and begin your lawsuit.

A chain reaction is sort of like a domino effect on the road. This kind of multi-car accident is common at red lights or stop signs. Typically, one car fails to brake in time and slams into the car in front of it. Then that car will strike a third car, and so on. Multiple cars may be damaged if the initial car is going quite fast.

Other chain reactions might involve something like one car suddenly changing lanes, and then other cars scrambling to avoid hitting that car and inadvertently hitting other cars. This is particularly dangerous when it happens on major highways where drivers can reach very high rates of speed.

The key to determining fault begins with figuring out how the accident began and in what order the cars hit each other. In many cases, the first car in the accident bears the most blame, but the other cars might not be totally blameless. Perhaps their speeding or other safety violations contributed to the severity of the crash. Tailgating is perhaps one of the biggest contributors to multi-car accidents. We can speak with accident reconstruction experts to determine what caused the accident and who is to blame.

What You Should Do After a Multi-Car Accident in New York to Help Prove Fault

Immediately after a multi-car accident, you should remain and the scene and call for help. If you are injured, you should focus on getting immediate medical attention. You should exchange insurance information with other drivers and take down their names and contact information if you are able. The same goes for potential witnesses. Remember, fleeing the scene before the police arrive is a criminal offense.

If you can, you should gather some evidence while you wait for assistance. Snapping some photos and recordings videos of the accident scene can help the court piece together how the accident happened. This is very important because accident scenes are cleared away rather quickly, and photos and videos might be the only thing preserving the scene as it was.

It is very important to take in as many details as possible because we may need to reconstruct the scene with experts later. Take notes about how fast you were going, where the cars were when the accident happened, and any skid marks you see on the road. Any details you miss might also be included in the police report. Our Long Island car accident lawyers can help you use this information and evidence to piece your accident together and determine who is responsible.

Contact Our New York Car Accident Attorneys for Assistance

If you were injured in an accident with multiple other vehicles, several other drivers might be liable for your damages. Our Staten Island car accident lawyers can help you get compensation from multiple defendants. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review.