Unfortunately, car accidents happen every day in New York. From minor fender benders to catastrophic multiple-vehicle pileups, they can cause severe or fatal injuries and extensive property damage. Rear-end collisions are common and often create chain reactions involving three or more cars.
Insurance claims involving only two vehicles are often challenging, but each additional car adds another level of complexity. You don’t have to handle these alone; Cellino Law can help.
What Is Fault in a Car Accident?
Every car accident has at least one cause. These causes range from icy roads and poor visibility to driver error and brake failure. Basically, fault is the responsibility for causing an accident. Many times, more than one party is at-fault, meaning they all share a portion of the blame.
This responsibility translates to being liable to pay damages. Most drivers follow the law and buy car insurance. If Jim is at fault in an accident, his insurance company is responsible for paying damages.
New York is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that personal injury protection policies pay for certain expenses after an accident regardless of who is at fault for causing it. However, responding police officers and insurance company investigators will still investigate how and why the accident happened to determine fault.
PIP policies don’t pay for property damage, and their policy limits may not cover all qualifying expenses. Some factors allow eligible accident victims to pursue compensation for their damages in other ways.
Liable insurance companies don’t want to pay any claims and often try to get out of it. They might attempt to blame you unfairly to reduce the amount of compensation you can receive. Cellino Law won’t let these greedy companies get away with inappropriately shifting the blame.
Who Is at Fault if Three Cars Rear-end Each Other?
That question doesn’t have a definitive answer. Any of the three drivers could be totally to blame. Two or all three might share fault. Third parties are sometimes responsible. It all depends on the circumstances, which differ between collisions. Your rear-end accident attorney from Cellino Law will investigate your crash to determine how it happened and who was at fault.
There are some common scenarios we can examine to explain. We’ll designate drivers for each car:
- Front car: James
- Middle car: Jill
- Rear car: Alex
- Car in perpendicular lane: Charles
- James stops at a red light. Jill doesn’t stop quickly enough and rear-ends James. That’s accident number one. Alex follows behind Jill too closely and hits her, causing accident number two. Jill and Alex each have some fault. James likely doesn’t.
- James and Jill stop properly. Alex hits Jill from behind, causing Jill’s car to hit James. Jill may bear partial responsibility if she stopped too close to James, but Alex likely bears the most blame.
- James is stopped in front of a lane of traffic while cars pass by in front of him. Jill rear-ends him, forcing his vehicle into Charles, who is driving in a perpendicular lane. Jill is at-fault.
James is driving at the posted speed limit when a dog suddenly runs in front of his car. James slams on his brakes to avoid hitting the dog. The sudden braking doesn’t give Jill or Alex enough time to stop their vehicles, so they each rear-end the car in front of them.
Although James was probably justified in his sudden braking, he is likely at fault for Jill hitting him. Alex might share some blame if he was following too closely behind Jill.
Passengers can throw trash out the window of moving vehicles. A driver may be unaware that a leaking barrel is spilling oil onto the road behind him. Drivers often slam on brakes or swerve to avoid roadway obstacles, and vehicles behind them may hit them.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of accident causes. That’s why an investigation is necessary.
What Is Following Too Closely?
There’s no specific length that determines if you’re following too closely behind the car in front of you. Different factors come into play, including traffic speeds and weather or road conditions. An unofficial tool for measuring that distance is known as the two-second rule.
Choose a landmark and note when the car ahead of you passes it. It should take you at least two seconds to reach that landmark. If it doesn’t, you’re probably following too closely, or tailgating.
Tailgating typically doesn’t give you enough time or distance to slow and avoid a rear-end collision if the lead vehicle brakes suddenly. You should maintain a safe distance between cars, even when stopping at a traffic light or stop sign.
Do These Crashes Happen for Other Reasons?
Tailgating is only one of a long list of causes of rear-end accidents. Driver error comes in many forms and causes many accidents. Other examples include:
- Not yielding the right-of-way
- Distracted driving
- Driving while drunk or taking mind-altering drugs (some prescription medications qualify)
- Not following traffic laws, including posted speed limits
- Aggressive or reckless driving
All of these examples are considered negligent behaviors. Negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims, and your attorney will search for evidence to prove negligence while investigating your accident.
What if More Than One Party Is At-fault?
New York uses a pure comparative fault system when two or more parties share blame for causing an accident. Even if you’re partially responsible for your collision, you can still seek compensation for your damages. However, your percentage of fault reduces the amount of payment you can receive. Say that you are 35% at fault. Your compensation lowers by 35%. That’s why your assigned percentage must be fair. Your legal team from Cellino Law will make sure fault assignments are appropriate so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Do You Need a Rear-end Accident Lawyer?
A three-car accident is complex on its own. Further complications can arise if one or more vehicle is commercial or government-owned. Many injured accident victims don’t know the ins and outs of car accident claims and lawsuits in New York. You have enough to deal with already; you don’t need to try to figure things out on your own. A competent car accident lawyer will:
- Assess your case and estimate its worth
- Provide information, guidance and legal advice
- Handle paperwork
- Investigate your accident and gather evidence to build your case
- Ensure that fault determinations are accurate
- Speak to insurance companies for you
- Negotiate a reasonable settlement offer or take your case to trial if it’s in your best interests
Completing these necessary tasks is a full-time job, and you need to spend your time recovering from your injuries. Let Cellino Law help.
Why Hire Cellino Law?
When you hire an attorney, you need one who can get results. Cellino Law has won more than $2 billion in settlements and millions more in recoveries for our clients. Cellino Law has been around for over six decades, focusing on personal injury law. That means we have knowledge earned through experience that puts us ahead of the rest.
You won’t pay us unless we win, so you have nothing to lose by contacting Cellino Law. We’re available 24/7, so call us at (800) 555-5555 or submit our online form now.
WE CAN HELP
CALL US NOWFree Case Review
FREE CASE REVIEW
Cellino Law and more specifically my attorney, Gregory V. Pajak, Managing Attorney, and as a whole the Cellino Law Firm and its organization. This is by far one of the most professional law firms and attorney I have ever engaged with and retained in my 35 years. The level of professionalism goes beyond words, the care and constant engagement with me as the client was touching. I was never ever just treated as simply a CASE with potentially a significant dollar number attached to my file. I was engaged regularly, Tracey (Ass’t) and Greg always made sure to remain constant, as well as consistent in overseeing that my case was handled properly and that it did matter in many ways - ensuring that the end result(s) would be fair and reasonable to my case/injury. The regular follow-up calls were very satisfying, knowing that you’re involved in your case matters significantly AND always. One of my main items to recognize Cellino Law and Gregory is that whenever I called, I was able to get through to speak directly to my Lawyer and he would answer any if not all of my questions in a very professional and genuinely caring manner. I always felt cared for and protected legally and more importantly, I was made feel as a human being that was being cared for and always keeping me abreast of all matters connected to the case. There was never a point I felt let down, on the contrary -the level of service was “STELLAR”. Greg is the consummate professional, a ‘role model’, if you will, for what other attorneys should strive to become when dealing with their clients.
Thank you for all your help. It has been a long journey. At last, the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, thank Tom for the help and work he put in.
I just want to let you know that I did receive my settlement check. More importantly, I want to thank you again for all you did for both me and my family. I could not be more pleased with my experience at Cellino Law. From the moment I first spoke with you I felt comfortable - you took a sincere interest in my case, clearly explained the process and effected a quick settlement. From this day forward, when someone asks if I can recommend a good lawyer I will, without hesitation, say "Cellino Law". Thanks again.
This is to express our gratitude to you and your team in helping us and Stephanie navigate through the legal process following her car accident. We are very satisfied with the outcome and grateful for your hard work and attention to details. We fell confident that with this compensation, Stephanie will be able to move forward with her studies and her life with the ability to care for some of her health needs resulting from the injuries sustained following her car accident. Thank you very much and may God continue to bless your efforts.
Jose & Rose
I am writing to let you know what an outstanding job George Gridelli did for me in my personal injury lawsuit. His professionalism and expertise were evident at our first metting and he and his paralegal Diane D'Andrea took care of me as if I was a friend and not merely a client. They both went above and beyond for me in so many ways that it would be too numerous to list and I am grateful to have had such an exemplary team represent me. When working with George and watching him in court he personified to me what a lawyer is supposed to be - an honest, extremely compentent man who helped guide me through the legal system. I could not have obtained better representation anywhere else at any price. To me that says a lot abut you and your firm's integrity. Thank you again for representing me and for having such stellar individuals working for you! I will continue to recommend your firm.
My experience during the time of negotiations was extremely positive. Josh Sandberg handled my lawsuit with the utmost integrity. He returned all my phone calls in a timely manner and answered all my questions. Josh made things less stressful. I would highly recommend Josh and the entire staff at Cellino Law.