When a car collision occurs that involves multiple vehicles, there can be added stress of dealing with multiple people with multiple injuries, various insurances, and determining who was the at-fault driver. In some instances, multiple vehicles end up colliding due to a chain reaction, where one vehicle bumps into the back of another vehicle, causing the second vehicle to then crash into the vehicle in front of it. At first glance, you may assume that the owner of the vehicle with the most damage is the person who should receive the most damages, or monetary compensation, for a multi-vehicle car accident. However, this may not be the case.
According to a recent news report, a crash near the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., resulted in 7 injuries and 3 critically injured. The accident involved four vehicles, leaving at least one sedan with a crumpled front end. People became trapped in two of the vehicles, and three people were extricated. One of the victims was a teenager, while all the other victims were adults. The collision is still being investigated, and investigators are looking into whether speed was a factor, or whether old reversible lane signs that were discontinued during the pandemic were a factor in the crash.
How Do Courts Determine Fault in Multi-Vehicle Collisions?
Because multi-vehicle car accidents happen in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons, it is not always so straightforward when determining who the at-fault driver is. In some scenarios, such as one where there is a chain reaction, the first driver who collided with a vehicle may be considered the at-fault driver. However, it is also important to consider the negligence laws in the state where the accident occurred.
For example, Washington, D.C., is one of only five jurisdictions in the country that still follows contributory negligence instead of comparative negligence. Maryland and Virginia also use contributory negligence, in addition to Alabama and North Carolina. Contributory negligence is a doctrine of law that can be challenging for plaintiffs attempting to recover monetary damages after a car accident. Under contributory negligence, if the plaintiff is found to have had any fault in the accident, they are barred from receiving compensation from the other parties involved. This is in contrast to states that follow comparative negligence, which allows a plaintiff to recover damages in proportion to the fault of each party. Because these negligence laws can be complicated and because determining fault isn’t so easy, it is important to connect with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Have You Been Injured in a Roadway Accident in Maryland or D.C.?
Have you or a loved one been injured in a D.C. area car accident? If so, contact Lebowitz & Mzhen today. Our attorneys have years of experience handling some of the most complex car accident cases and are ready to help you with your case. We work hard to address your needs and get you the kind of compensation you deserve because when there is so much on the line, you need the best representation you can get. For a free and confidential consultation with a member of our legal team, call us at 800-654-1949. Our office represents clients all around Prince George’s County, Charles County, Baltimore County, and Montgomery County.