Chain Reaction and Multi Vehicle Accidents
Chain reaction accidents are those in which three or more vehicles are involved. Often one vehicle rear-ends another, such that the struck vehicle collides with the car in front of it. When these accidents occur at high speeds they are particularly dangerous. If you suffered injuries or a loved one was killed in a chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident, you may be able to recover damages. Under these circumstances, it’s important to consult an attorney who understands complex personal injury litigation. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our skillful Syracuse car accident lawyers may be able to help you.Chain Reaction and Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Sometimes chain reaction accidents occur when a driver is not paying attention and doesn’t brake quickly enough or otherwise react to stopped traffic such that he plows into a line of cars. Each driver may turn to his or her own no-fault insurance to cover damages from the accident, unless the injuries meet the threshold for serious injuries. However, in other situations, multiple cars may be moving and collide into each other at high speeds, causing numerous severe injuries. In that situation, it may be very difficult to figure out who was at fault for the damages that arise from the multi-vehicle accident.
Where one car crashes into other cars and causes serious injuries that meet the threshold that would allow accident victims to recover damages in personal injury litigation, the driver may be sued for negligence. Those who are seriously injured will need to show by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the driver owed a duty of reasonable care, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages. However, where there are multiple accident victims whose injuries meet the threshold for serious injuries, the driver’s insurance policy may not cover all the damages. For that reason, it is advisable to retain an experienced attorney who can look at all potential sources of compensation and potentially hire an accident reconstruction expert if that’s necessary to apportion fault between drivers or other potentially responsible parties.
Damages can include both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses may include tangible losses that exceed the basic economic losses you’re able to obtain with your own no-fault coverage, such as coverage for substantial medical bills, lost wages, and replacement services. If, for example, you suffer catastrophic injuries such as paralysis in a chain reaction accident, you may need medical equipment like a wheelchair plus alterations to your home. Noneconomic losses may include intangible losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of activities, and loss of consortium.Joint and Several Liability for Multi-Vehicle Accidents
At common law, there was a doctrine of joint and several liability whereby you could go after one or multiple defendants as if they were jointly liable for your damages, and the defendants would need to sort out how much at fault any one defendant was. You could sue just one defendant and require that defendant to pursue the other defendants for contribution. However, in New York, Article 16 restricts the application of this doctrine. Defendants can be held jointly and severally liable for economic losses. However, when a defendant’s liability is found to be 50% or less of the total liability, you can only hold him or her liable for the extent of his or her responsibility for noneconomic losses like pain and suffering. Where a defendant is found to be 51% or more at fault, however, his liability is joint, meaning he can be responsible for 100% of the damages even though he is only 52% at fault for the accident.Retain a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in Syracuse
If you were harmed or lost a loved one in a chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident in Syracuse, you should talk to a knowledgeable injury lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents car accident victims and their families in Syracuse, as well as Rochester, Elmira, Lyons, Auburn, Cooperstown, Binghamton, Canandaigua, Ithaca, Wampsville, Herkimer, Utica, Oneida, Oswego, Lowville, Watertown, and Lowville. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.