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Chain reaction car accidents, also known as multi-vehicle accidents or pileups, occur as a series of three or more cars make impact with one another in a domino effect of collisions. In most scenarios, one driver strikes the rear of another vehicle, and that impact is enough to propel the struck vehicle’s front into the rear of the vehicle in front of them. This serious continues until there are no vehicles left in front to strike or the force of the final impact is insufficient to push the last car hit into another collision. These accidents are incredibly dangerous because drivers and passengers may endure several forceful impacts during the chain of collisions, and they usually aren’t expecting the collisions so there is no time to brace or otherwise prepare. Though many collisions within a chain reaction series of accidents are not the result of negligence, the initial crash usually is because it involves striking another vehicle directly in front of it. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident involving several vehicles, contact a Hemet Chain Reaction and Multi-Vehicle Accident Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation.

Hemet Multi-Vehicle Accident Risk Factors

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly 2 million of these collisions occur annually – almost 33% of the total accidents. However, even though they only account for a third of the country’s accidents, they account for nearly half the motor vehicle fatalities each year. In high traffic areas like Hemet, with a heavy commuter population and close access to the massive 10, 15, and 215 freeways as well as State Routes 74 and 79, these accidents are exceedingly common due to the sheer volume of vehicles on the roads as well as the prevalence of negligent behavior behind the wheel such as speeding, tailgating, aggressive driving, or texting behind the wheel.

This improper conduct can help explain why 638 people were hurt and killed in traffic accidents in Hemet in 2016 alone, many of them in chain reaction accidents. Florida Avenue is a particularly dangerous area for motorists – in 2018 a three-vehicle chain reaction at Florida Avenue and Golden Village hospitalized four people, and in a three-vehicle chain reaction at Florida Avenue and Soboba Street injured another person.

How Do Chain Reaction Accidents Occur?

Chain reaction and multi-vehicle accidents can occur in several different ways, each of which presents a unique challenge when determining fault and proving negligence for your case. However, there are a few scenarios that are more common than others when it comes to multi-vehicle accidents.

  • The front vehicle enters a lane and suddenly brakes, leaving the rear vehicle no time to brake and prevent an accident. This leaves the motorist that rear ended the first vehicle vulnerable to being struck from behind. The driver who changed lanes and stopped is usually responsible.
  • The middle vehicle claims the rear vehicle struck them and pushed them forward into the front vehicle. This can be tricky to verify because you must pick one driver’s story over another’s.
  • A driver at the rear of a chain rear ends the vehicle in from of them, causing that vehicle to rear end the one in front of them. The driver causing the initial rear end collision is usually at fault.
  • Phantom vehicle chain reaction accidents occur when the vehicle furthest back began the multi-vehicle accident but claims they were initially hit by another vehicle and pushed into the car in front of them, but the vehicle that hit them drove off in a hit and run. Determining fault here can be complicated, but often checking the vehicle claiming they were the victim of a hit and run for new damage can verify or disprove their claim.

Can I Win My Case?

The first step in getting compensation for your chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident injuries is figuring out who’s at fault for the accident. The culprit may seem obvious to you but establishing negligence in legal terms may be more complicated. Proving negligence generally means proving the defendant:

  • Owed you a duty of care,
  • Breached it through act or omission, and
  • Caused your harm through their breach.

Another way to create the presumption of negligence is demonstrating that the defendant broke a rule, regulation, or law when causing your injury. Negligence per se also applies to traffic laws such as speed limits and prohibitions against texting while driving, which may be useful for car accident cases.

Chain reaction cases can prove challenging for establishing negligence – road and weather conditions, time of day, negligence, and contributory negligence may all factor into causation of an accident. It can be helpful to examine evidence such as photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, eyewitness accounts, traffic camera footage, and physical evidence such as skid marks may all help establish fault and provide proof of negligence. Even though the driver of the first vehicle to strike another is usually responsible, the wide variety of scenarios possible in these crashes makes proving negligence a tricky prospect best tackled by an experienced lawyer.

How Much Is My Case Worth?

When you needlessly suffer whiplash, back injuries, head trauma, or other soft tissue damage in a chain reaction crash caused by negligence, it’s reasonable you want to know what you can recover. A court may attempt to make you whole for physical, mental, emotional, and financial harms from the accident by awarding you damages for injuries you can prove occurred from someone’s negligence. Victims have been known to receive compensatory awards for medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and loss of consortium.

Victims in certain cases may also be entitled to an additional award of damages from the court to punish the defendant for particularly vile, reprehensible behavior and discourage them and others from its repetition. Though punitive damage awards can be large, they’re difficult to get because of the high burden of proof and the discretionary nature of the damages; it’s an issue best handled by an experienced Hemet Chain Reaction or Multi-Vehicle Lawyer to avoid costly legal pitfalls.

Speak to an Attorney Today

Anyone involved in a car accident can attest to the fact it’s traumatic and can be overwhelming to deal with even when only two vehicles are involved. This headache only compounds when more vehicles, more victims, and more insurance companies are involved – a headache you don’t need on top of recovering from your injuries. Contact the Hemet Chain Reaction and Multi-Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today and let us handle these problems for you. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with insurers, organizing cases with multiple parties involved, and providing world-class representation for clients like you. Let us fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page today to schedule your risk-free initial case review. The confidential evaluation is free, and you don’t pay until we win your case. Let us use our skill and resources to help you get the best possible outcome from a tragic situation starting today.