A chain-reaction car accident involving four vehicles killed a 16-year-old girl and injured eight others on Interstate 195 in early March. The teenager was a passenger in a Chrysler 300 that was rear-ended by a Chevrolet Silverado after traffic slowed down due to an incident a mile ahead. The collision set off a chain reaction wherein the Chrysler was pushed into two more vehicles, causing further injury to the drivers and passengers in each vehicle.
Chain-reaction car accidents, though rare, can be particularly devastating given the sheer number of potential victims. Here's what you should know about them in Rhode Island.
Why do Chain-Reaction Accidents Occur?
Chain-reaction car crashes can occur any time multiple vehicles are on the road in close proximity to each other. Conditions which can increase the chances of a chain-reaction car accident include:
- Highly congested traffic, e.g., rush-hour traffic on the interstate;
- Poor road conditions, e.g., wet, foggy, or icy road conditions or overall low visibility;
- Distracted driving;
- Tailgating; and
- Slowing down to look at other accidents or road incidents.
Determining Fault in a Chain-Reaction Car Accident
Whereas car accidents involving two vehicles are comparatively easier to attribute fault, it is often far more difficult to determine who is liable in a chain-reaction car crash due to the fact that multiple drivers could have contributed to the accident. But finding fault is imperative to determining liability.
Joint and Several Liability in a Rhode Island Chain-Reaction Collision
In Rhode Island, two or more parties who cause a chain-reaction collision can be held "jointly and severally liable" for the accident. This means that the victim of a multi-vehicle car accident may be able to recover financial compensation–also known as "damages"–from multiple at-fault parties to the accident rather than one party bearing all of the financial burden for the accident.
Litigation arising from a chain-reaction accident can be far more complex than an ordinary accident. Determining which driver or drivers were at fault can be challenging. Perhaps even more difficult, however, is recovering compensation from multiple drivers' insurance companies. When multiple drivers can be held liable in a car accident, each party's insurance company can be reluctant to admit fault, hoping that another driver's insurance carrier will claim liability for the accident and reduce the need for a hefty settlement.
Recoverable Compensation in a Chain-Reaction Car Accident
If you have been injured in a chain-reaction car accident, you may be able to obtain financial compensation from one or multiple drivers at fault in the accident. Compensation can cover losses such as:
- Medical bills related to the accident;
- Income lost due to time missed from work after the accident;
- Physical pain suffered during and after the accident; and
- Emotional trauma endured as a result of the accident and injuries sustained.
Injured in a Rhode Island Chain-Reaction Car Accident? We're Standing By to Help
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a chain-reaction car accident, it's critical to seek representation from a seasoned personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At Inman & Tourgee, our personal injury team has the experience necessary to see your chain-reaction car accident claim through from start to finish. To discuss your accident with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (401) 823-9200 today.