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Who’s Liable In A Multi-Vehicle Rear-End Collision?

Q: I was traveling in stop-and-go traffic when I felt two impacts to the rear of my vehicle. Upon exiting my vehicle I realized I had been involved in a multi-vehicle rear-end collision with two other vehicles. The driver of the rear-most-vehicle claims the middle vehicle rear-ended me first, and that he in turn rear-ended the middle vehicle due to its sudden and unexpected reduction in speed. The driver of the middle vehicle claims he was first rear-ended by the third vehicle and that the impact was so hard that the middle vehicle ricocheted between the two vehicles with enough force to hit my vehicle twice. I’m not sure who is telling the truth. Does it even make a difference?

A: Among other things determining the sequence of events has bearing on whether one or both of the other drivers are liable to you. There are a number of factors to consider. For example, do you recall hearing a crash before you felt the first impact? If so, the last vehicle likely rear-ended the middle vehicle first. Also consider the amount of time that elapsed between the first and second impact to your vehicle. A less rapid succession of impacts is corroborative of the middle vehicle striking you first. This interesting fact pattern gives rise to many more issues than may be discussed in this limited article. Please give my office a call for a proper consultation.

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