When analyzing the cause of an accident, you may come across the term “secondary car accident.” So, what exactly is a secondary car accident?
A secondary car accident is a collision that occurs as the direct result of another car accident. For example, if a driver rear-ends another vehicle and causes a chain reaction, any subsequent accidents that occur would be considered secondary car accidents.
If you’ve been in a secondary car accident, you probably have a lot of questions. First and foremost, you may be wondering who is liable for the damages. In this article, we’ll discuss liability in secondary car accidents, as well as how these collisions happen, how to avoid them, and common legal options for victims.
Common Secondary Accident Scenarios
There are a few different scenarios in which secondary accidents commonly occur. Here are some examples:
- A driver rear-ends another vehicle, causing a chain reaction.
- A driver sideswipes another vehicle, causing that vehicle to swerve into oncoming traffic and strike other vehicles.
- A driver hits a patch of ice and loses control of their vehicle, causing them to swerve into oncoming traffic and strike other vehicles.
- A driver makes an unsafe lane change and collides with another vehicle, causing that vehicle to lose control and spin out into oncoming traffic, where they are struck by other vehicles.
What Causes Secondary Car Accidents?
While primary car accidents are typically the result of driver error, secondary car accidents are often caused by driver negligence. Common examples of secondary car accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Weather conditions
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The Process of Determining Liability in Secondary Car Accidents
The process of determining liability in a secondary car accident is similar to the process of determining liability in a primary car accident. The first step is to identify the negligent party. To do this, you and your attorney need to determine who was at fault for the initial collision.
Once the negligent party has been identified, the next step is to determine whether or not they had a duty to exercise care. For example, if the negligent party was speeding, they had a duty to drive at a safe speed. If they breached this duty and it resulted in an accident, they would be held liable for any damages.
Common Issues That Can Complicate Liability
In many situations, the rules around establishing liability are the same for secondary car accidents as they are for primary car accidents. However, there are some unique circumstances that can complicate things.
One common issue is determining which driver was at fault for the initial accident. If both drivers were equally at fault, it can be difficult to establish liability for the secondary accident. This is because both drivers may be considered negligent and, as a result, both may be held liable for the damages.
Another potential issue is determining which driver was more at fault. For example, if one driver rear-ended another and caused a chain reaction, that driver would likely be considered more at fault than the drivers of the other vehicles involved. In this case, the driver who caused the initial accident may be held liable for the damages from all of the subsequent accidents.
Finally, if the second accident was caused by distracted driving, the driver may be held liable even if they were not involved in the initial accident. This is because distracted driving is considered a form of negligence and can result in liability for any accidents that occur as a result.
Can I Sue the Liable Persons in Both Types of Accidents?
If it is established that both the first and third drivers were at fault, then the driver in the middle can sue both of them. This is a type of lawsuit called “stacking.” The goal of stacking is to make sure that the victim is compensated for their damages, even if one of the liable parties does not have insurance or enough insurance to cover all of the damages.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Involved in a Secondary Car Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a secondary car accident, the first thing you should do is see a doctor. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional. The next step is to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
Can I Join Another Person’s Lawsuit?
If you’ve been involved in a secondary car accident, you may be able to join another person’s lawsuit. This is known as “piggybacking.” In order to piggyback on another person’s lawsuit, you must have suffered damages as a result of the accident. These damages can be either physical or financial.
Piggybacking allows victims of secondary car accidents to seek compensation from the liable parties without having to file their own lawsuits. This can be beneficial because it can save time and money. It can also increase the chances of success because there will likely be more evidence to support the claim.
If you’re considering piggybacking on another person’s lawsuit, it’s important to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand the pros and cons of piggybacking and determine if it’s the right option for you.
How to Avoid Secondary Car Accidents
There are a few things you can do to avoid secondary car accidents and it is mostly common-sense advice. First, always drive defensively. This means being aware of your surroundings and watching out for other drivers. If you see an accident about to happen, slow down and give yourself plenty of space.
Second, avoid distracted driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of secondary car accidents. If you’re distracted, you’re more likely to rear-end another car or fail to notice an accident that’s about to happen.
Third, always follow the rules of the road. This includes obeying posted speed limits and yield signs. By following the rules, you can help prevent accidents from happening in the first place.
Finally, if you see an accident, don’t rubberneck. Rubbernecking is when you slow down to look at an accident. By slowing down and taking your attention off the road, you run the risk of not only hitting someone in front of you but also being rear-ended.
Understanding Your Legal Options
You have many options available to you if you’ve been involved in a secondary car accident. These options will depend on the facts of your case and the amount and type of damages you’ve suffered, as well as the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred.
Some of the options available to you may include filing a personal injury lawsuit or joining another person’s lawsuit or insurance claim. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options and determine the best course of action for your case.
When you’re ready to take the next step, reach out to us. Our team is here to help you get the compensation you deserve. We handle all types of personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today for a free consultation.