New York Chain Reaction Accidents
Every year the media reports a handful of major chain reaction accidents that occur during heavy fog or severe snowstorms. A chain reaction accident, also referred to as a multi-vehicle accident, occurs when 3 or more vehicles hit one or another in a series of rear-end collisions. The chain reaction is caused by the force of the first collision. While some chain reaction accidents are a result of poor visibility or road conditions due to inclement weather, multi-vehicle accidents also occur because of driver negligence. If driver negligence sparked to chain reaction accident that left you or a loved one injured, contact an experienced New York Chain Reaction Accident Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and work closely with you to help you get the compensation to which you are entitled to based on the losses you suffered.Causes of Chain Reaction Accidents
One of the most common causes of chain reaction accidents is a driver following a vehicle too closely, also referred to as tailgating. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1129, drivers are prohibited from following another vehicle "more closely than is reasonable and prudent." If a driver follows another car too closely and that car unexpectedly decelerates, there is a good possibility that the following driver will hit the other car in the rear-end. Once a driver hits one car, the car that was hit may be pushed into the car in front of it. Depending on the force of the first collision and the number of cars in line, the chain reaction could end up damaging several cars.
In Passos v. MTA Bus Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 4916 (N.Y. App. Div., 2015), three vehicles were involved in a multi-vehicle accident on Second Avenue, between 78th and 79th Streets. The first vehicle was driven by DiPaoli, the middle vehicle, a truck, was driven by plaintiff Roberto Passos, and the rear vehicle, an MTA bus, was driven by defendant Victor Moses. DiPaoli testified that he was at a complete stop at a red light, and that he was hit twice in the rear. In this case the court noted that when approaching another vehicle from behind the law requires that drivers maintain a reasonably safe rate of speed and take care to avoid a collision. When a collision is a rear-end collision there is a presumption of negligence based on proof that a stopped car was struck in the rear.
In other cases a chain reaction accident is not caused by the negligence of the driver whose vehicle caused the first collision. Other factors such as road conditions or the weather may be contributing factors. For example, in Sosa v. City of N.Y., 124 A.D.3d 546 (N.Y. App. Div., 2015), petitioner Pedro Sosa was involved in a multi-vehicle accident on the icy Cross Bronx Expressway which caused Pedro and his sister, Jennifer, to be thrown from the elevated highway 75 feet to the road below. Pedro suffered serious injuries and Jennifer did not survive. Pedro and his family filed a claim against the City of New York arguing that the accident would not have happened if the city had properly cleared ice from the road.
Other types of driver negligence can lead to a chain reaction accident. For example, failure to obey traffic rules such as stopping at a red light, speeding, failure to yield, or driving while intoxicated could all lead to a collision that could start a chain reaction accident.Consequences of a Chain Reaction Accident
Negligent driving that causes a chain reaction accident may leave victims seriously injured. Common injuries include broken bones, head trauma, cuts and scrapes, back injuries and neck injuries. In the most severe cases, people are killed in chain reaction accidents. Serious injuries require extensive medical treatment and prevent the victim from working. The result is mounting medical bills and little income. However, New York law allows victims to sue to recover damages to compensate for losses. Through a personal injury lawsuit you may be able to recover compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. In addition if your property was damaged in the accident, you can sue to recover compensation to repair or replace the property. If a family member died in the accident, then you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Chain reaction accidents are complicated with each driver believing another driver is at fault. However, an experienced New York Chain Reaction Accident Lawyer will be able to sort through the complex evidence in order to make sure your rights are protected. The staff at Stephen Bilkis and Associates has extensive experience representing clients injured in chain reaction accidents, head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, side collisions, sideswipe accidents as well as other types of vehicle accidents. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your car accident.