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Chain Reaction Car Accidents

Any car accident has the potential to cause serious injury, but a chain-reaction car accident can be particularly terrifying and dangerous.

In a chain-reaction accident—or multi-car pileup—the first impact a motorist experiences may not be the last.

Depending on the number of involved vehicles, a victim of a chain reaction accident may experience a secondary impact or more. Not only does a chain reaction accident cause serious physical and emotional trauma, but often the distress continues when a surviving victim files a claim to recover compensation for things like property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Texas is a fault-based insurance state that requires accident victims to prove another driver’s negligence and liability for the accident. This can be challenging in a chain reaction car accident claim in Texas and often requires a detailed investigation by an experienced car accident lawyer in Houston with resources such as access to traffic camera footage and accident reconstruction experts.

Common Causes of Chain Reaction Car Accidents

The most common type of chain reaction car accident involves multiple rear-end collisions occurring in swift succession. Chain reaction accidents, also known as multi-car pileups, typically occur in high-speed traffic when following cars do not have sufficient time to stop to avoid hitting a crashed car in front of them.

Such accidents are also common in slippery road conditions where a driver’s brakes may fail, leading to them sliding into a slowed or stopped vehicle on the roadway ahead.

Chain reaction accidents often stem from driver errors. Common causes include the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to adjust speed for inclement weather conditions
  • Intoxication
  • Road rage or aggressive driving
  • Weaving through multiple lanes of traffic

When a chain reaction accident occurs, the first driver to crash is typically the at-fault party, but drivers who crash into the front car may share fault under the state’s comparative negligence laws.

How Do Comparative Negligence Laws In Texas Affect Liability in Chain Reaction Accidents?

Typically the first driver to crash in a multi-car accident is liable if negligent driving behavior caused the initial crash; however, an investigation sometimes reveals other liable parties such as:

  • A negligent road maintenance agency that left a road hazard in place or failed to address a fallen sign or serious pothole in the road
  • The manufacturer of a defective car part such as a brake system or faulty brake lights
  • A negligent auto repair shop for failing to properly repair a brake system, faulty steering system, or other automotive safety hazard

Because Texas follows comparative fault insurance laws, multiple drivers could share fault in a chain reaction car accident.

For example, the first driver could be 75% liable for a chain reaction accident because they failed to slow while approaching a stop sign and then slammed on their brakes, but the next driver who collides with the first motorist could be 25% at fault because they were exceeding the speed limit which may have extended their stopping time, contributing to the crash. In a crash with $100,000 in damages, an accident victim who is determined to be 25% at fault for the accident can still recover $75,000.

A skilled car accident attorney in Houston can help protect drivers from insurance companies that attempt to assign them an undue percentage of fault for a chain reaction car accident to protect their profits.

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