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Who’s Liable in a Multiple Car Pile-Up Accident?


When a vehicle crashes into another, the consequences can be severe. Cases involving more than two vehicles can be particularly dangerous — and more deadly. According to statistics from 2018, multiple-vehicle crashes accounted for 61% of car occupant deaths. In the same year, 40% of all car crashes in New York involved multiple vehicles. While many factors can contribute to a multiple car pile-up, determining negligence can be complex.   

Negligence in a Multi-Vehicle Crash

Demonstrating negligence to establish liability can be complicated. For instance, in a chain reaction crash, one or more drivers may have been at fault. Consider the following example: Car C’s driver was texting when it hit Car B, which was following too closely behind Car A. The initial impact caused Car B to rear-end Car A. 

In this scenario, both Car B and Car C may have been negligent and liable for damages incurred by Car A’s driver and passengers. The occupants of Car A may be able to name the other drivers in a personal injury lawsuit and recover for a serious injury based on each one’s percentage of fault. Car B may also try to sue Car C, arguing that their negligence started the chain reaction.

Causes of Multiple-Vehicle Pile-Up Accidents 

There are numerous causes of multiple-vehicle car crashes. Sometimes, more than one condition can contribute to a multiple vehicle pile-up. Some common causes of driver negligence in a multiple-vehicle pile-up accident include:   

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Inattention
  • Following too closely
  • Drowsy driving 
  • Speeding
  • Disobeying traffic control devices
  • Running red lights
  • Rubbernecking
  • Failure to exercise caution in dangerous weather conditions 

 Different types of vehicles can be involved in these types of accidents, including cars, SUVs, tractor-trailers, vans, trucks, etc. Multiple-vehicle pile-ups can occur on the highway, at an intersection, county roads, or the parkway.

Injuries & Compensation in a Multiple Car Collision

Car accidents can cause various injuries ranging in severity from soft tissue injuries to nerve damage, broken bones, lacerations, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and death. If you’ve been in a multiple car crash, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor will examine you and decide what tests should be conducted to determine your injuries. Typically, after any car accident, X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans are performed. If you experience radiating pain or tingling, EMG-NCVs might be recommended by your doctor to diagnose nerve damage.

Medical treatment for car accident injuries can include physical therapy, chiropractic care, emergency treatment, office visits, surgeries, and acupuncture. While no-fault insurance covers up to $50,000 of medical treatment, this limit can quickly be exceeded depending on the types of injuries you sustained. By pursuing a personal injury action against the negligent drivers, you may be entitled to compensation for unreimbursed medical expenses and lost wages as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages in some cases.  

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

If you sustained injuries in a multiple-vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. There are strict statutes of limitations in any car accident case that begin running from the accident date, starting with the thirty-day deadline to file for no-fault benefits. If you sustained injuries in a multiple-vehicle accident due to another’s negligence, The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. can help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for free a consultation.