Chain reaction car accidents, which usually involve multiple parties, can often result in a long trail of collisions and murky chains of liability. Because these collisions often involve apportioning different amounts of fault to various parties involved, it is crucial that D.C. drivers are aware of preventive and legal steps they can take to best protect themselves in the event that they are involved in a multiple-vehicle crash.
According to a recent local news report, a major chain reaction collision between a car and a school bus resulted in five subsequent crashes. Montgomery County police’s investigation revealed that the driver of a Mitsubishi struck another vehicle and fled the scene. The Mitsubishi then subsequently rear-ended a Metro bus and fled the scene again before crashing into a school bus. The drivers of both buses were transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while the driver of the Mitsubishi was transported to a separate hospital and in critical condition.
When it comes to establishing fault in a chain reaction accident, the driver who causes the initial collision is typically who is considered responsible. Although circumstances of different accidents may mean that different crash scenarios yield different or multiple at-fault parties, the general rule of thumb is that the driver who instigates the initial crash is also responsible for the multiple collisions that take place after. Sometimes, however, various parties involved in a crash may be deemed at fault. Other times, when it is clear that one individual caused multiple accidents, one party can be held responsible for all of the crashes that take place after the first one.
If multiple parties are at fault in a chain reaction accident, it is crucial that as much evidence is collected as possible. Potential plaintiffs are advised to compile police reports, investigations, and document all evidence involved in the accident so that fault is apportioned correctly. For example, all parties should collect witness statements, images or video of skid marks and property and vehicle damage at the scene, and any traffic citations or violations, if applicable.
In Washington, D.C., chain reaction accidents with multiple parties at fault may leave a jury to apply a contributory negligence framework when it comes to apportioning liability and damages. Under a contributory negligence framework, any amount of fault apportioned to an accident victim will reduce the compensation they are eligible to receive to zero. For instance, if a victim is deemed five percent responsible for causing an accident where they suffered $100,000 in damages, their compensation would be reduced by $0. The only exception to this rule is for “vulnerable road users,” such as pedestrians, cyclists, and those riding electric scooters. This highlights the importance of working with an experienced attorney who can help explain why you were not responsible for the accident leading to your injuries.
Do You Need a Washington, D.C. Accident Attorney?
If you or someone you know was recently injured in a Washington, D.C. car accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen today. Our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in all types of personal injury claims and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today at 800-654-1949.