Who’s at Fault in a Three-Way Car Accident In Manhattan?

Despite various campaigns and efforts to eliminate danger on the roads, recent years have shown a disturbing spike in traffic fatalities in New York City.

One complicating factor in motor vehicle accidents is if the collision involves more than two cars. Anyone who experiences such an incident often wonders how to determine fault and who pays damages.

Types of Three-Way Collisions and Their Causes

Multi-car crashes can create harmful chain reactions. As such, the responsibility primarily lies with whoever instigated the collision.

Rear-End Collisions

Multi-car rear-end collisions occur when a vehicle strikes another from behind, causing the struck car to move forward and hit another automobile. This domino effect can continue and create destructive pileups.

The cause of such an accident usually rests on the driver of the rearmost car. Often, this motorist did not keep sufficient distance from traffic ahead and could not brake in time to avoid making an impact.

In some situations, the fault may fall on multiple drivers. Objective facts such as speed, weather, attention and road conditions affect this determination. For example, a driver in the middle of a pileup who was also following another driver too closely or was texting may bear a percentage of the responsibility.

Lane Change Accidents

Multi-car lane change accidents happen when one or more vehicles attempting a lane change fail to observe another car in an adjacent lane. In many cases, the crash is due to driver negligence, such as not using a turn signal or checking mirrors before maneuvering.

Additionally, drivers may mistakenly assume they have adequate time and space to complete the move, leading them to cut off a rapidly approaching motorist. Tailgating can also contribute to these collisions because it gives drivers less time to react and avoid accidents.

As with other multi-car accidents, blame often rests on the shoulders of whichever motorist is initially changing lanes. However, in some cases, parties may share the fault for failing to maintain a safe following distance or slow down quickly enough in response.

Intersection Crashes

Intersection collisions can be some of the most deadly accidents. The causes vary, but inattentive behavior on the part of one or more drivers is usually the primary factor.

Drivers not paying attention can fail to yield, disobey traffic signs or make inaccurate judgments about cornering. Alcohol use also increases a driver’s risk of causing multi-car intersection collisions, as does driving too quickly for road conditions.

Head-On Collisions

Federal Highway Commission reports verify that head-on collisions have the highest fatality rates, with over 5,000 occurring annually in a recent three-year period. Adding multiple cars to the equation only increases the potential for pain and suffering.

Such crashes often occur when one or more drivers fail to adhere to the rules of the road, such as failing to stay in their lane or turning without yielding the right of way. Often, the fault may fall on a single driver, but other drivers may share responsibility.

The Ways Courts Assign Liability 

Generally speaking, drivers who instigate crashes are the most liable. Courts and insurance companies have a challenging task in trying to differentiate responsibility between multiple drivers and other parties.

Insurers and judges refer to New York’s comparative negligence laws, which assign percentages of fault. Utilizing this framework can help ensure that the legal resolution is fair based on the overall circumstances of the case. Even if a driver bears most of the fault for a collision, the law authorizes the individual to receive compensation for the percentage of responsibility due to other parties.

In addition, negligence may fall on other parties who were not at the crash scene. Product liability can occur if a vehicle malfunctioned and played a role in the accident. Poor road maintenance can contribute to the collision and may make the responsible institution bear some fault.

Courts sometimes assign some accountability to drivers who followed road rules even if they could not avoid a collision despite their efforts to do so. A strong case can help prevent an incorrect assessment of liability.

Steps To Take After a Three-Way Car Accident

Experiencing a motor vehicle accident can be traumatic. Knowing what steps to take afterward can help people stay calm and protect their legal rights.

Exchange Information With the Other Drivers 

A vital step after a motor vehicle accident is exchanging information with the other drivers. Contact information and insurance policy details will be necessary to resolve claims. A person should also get the names and contact information of witnesses and record the license plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the crash.

Seek Medical Attention 

All parties to the crash should seek medical attention immediately. Injuries may still be present even if a person does not feel any pain or discomfort at first. A medical professional should address such issues as soon as possible. Some injuries do not appear until days or weeks after an accident.

Document Everything 

Parties to the incident should document everything possible. Such documentation includes pictures and videos of damage to vehicles and visible injuries of anyone in the crash.

Additionally, a person should keep track of any expenses related to medical treatment, such as hospital bills and prescription costs. Notes or recordings of all conversations between parties related to the accident, such as insurance companies and law enforcement officers, can prove invaluable.

Pointers About Communication With Insurers

Knowing what to say and what not to say can be the difference between receiving fair compensation or a denied claim. Conversations with an insurer should be clear and concise.

Remaining calm and collected during all discussions is vital, even when fielding difficult questions from an adjuster or claims representative. Remember, insurers work hard to minimize their financial liability in these situations. They may try to get a person to admit fault or make statements that could reduce the amount they owe in settlements.

Having abundant evidence readily available can help expedite negotiations and ensure that all parties involved are on the same page when it comes time for settlement discussions or payment arrangements. Such information includes medical records, accident reports, witness statements and repair estimates.

Factors That Affect Settlements and Awards for Damages

The amount of damages a person can receive primarily depends on the severity of the injuries resulting from the accident. Such injuries include mental, emotional and physical harm.

If any time off work was necessary due to injuries, this too can be part of the overall claim. The insurance company may also factor in any property damage with repair costs attributed to the car accident. For instance, if one party’s vehicle needs repairs after a collision, the insurer usually includes that expense in the compensation if the damage is due to the crash.

Additional factors, such as each party’s insurance coverage and jurisdiction law, can influence how much money a person may receive from a car accident settlement. Based on these criteria and more, each claim can produce different results. A strong case is essential to improve one’s chances of receiving fair compensation.

When To Hire an Accident Attorney

Vehicle accidents are stressful enough, and the situation becomes more complex if the accident involves three or more vehicles. Trying to sort out the details for getting fair compensation can be very challenging.

If you need help resolving the details of a three-way car collision in Manhattancontact Cellino Law for a free case review. With decades of experience and supervision of over $2 billion in settlements, our team can provide practical assistance.



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