If there is a multi-car pileup accident, who is responsible for what?

Gregory Herrman answers your questions live on Facebook and Instagram.

If there is a multi-car pileup accident, like on a busy highway, who is responsible for what?

If you turn out of a driveway and get hit by a car that was speeding, is it still your fault. There would’ve been time for me to go if the other person wasn’t speeding.

If multiple people are in a car and the car gets hit by someone and everyone becomes injured, do all of the passengers and driver have the same case or is each case separate. #Law #Attorney #PersonalInjury

Transcript

Gregory Herrman: This is Greg Germann with Herrman and Herrman, time for FAQ, the first one comes from Michael Garcia and the question is: "if there is a multi-car pileup accident, like on a busy highway, who is responsible for what? And of course the answer there obviously, you know, depends on what started the action, what was the initial cause and what chain of events happened. So everyone's going to be different, but as a general rule, we have to keep in mind that you are supposed to keep a safe distance behind the car ahead of you, so even if the first car wipes out and other people just keep running into that accident, pretty much everybody that hits it's going to be at fault, because you're supposed to stay back far enough that when things like that happen and there's a wreck or something in front of you, you have time to put on your brakes and not hit it. As a general as a rule of thumb you're supposed to stay one car length for every 10 miles an hour behind the car ahead of you, so if the car head is going 10 miles an hour you ought to be a car length, if it was going 60 miles an hour you ought to be six cars back, and that should give you enough time to put on your brakes and avoid the collision.

So you know again, it depends on all the facts and circumstances, but if it's just a pileup or one car that just keeps running into the people ahead of it, it's generally going to be that everybody's fall to does the running into. Even if there's fog or something on the road, if it's at a foggy you shouldn't be driving in the first place you ought to pull over or you should be driving slow enough so that if something appears ahead of you, you won't run into it, and again those are general rules of thumb, it just depends on the facts and circumstances. So you know, I guess if you have a specific thing in mind, that we could certainly give you advice about that but without knowing more, that's kind of the general answer.

Gregory Herrman: Question number two comes from Jaclyn Thomas, and she asks if you turn out of a driveway and get hit by a car that was speeding, is it your fault? There would have been time for me to go if the other person wasn't speeding. Well, I would say Jaclyn the answer there, is that yeah it's probably your fault. At least partly, the other car should not have been speeding, the jury would put some fault on that person for speeding, but you shouldn't have pulled out of the driveway if you saw this car speeding, and if you saw the car, you know before you go and you turn out, you should have been able to gauge the speed of this car and you should have said, hey that car is going too fast, I can't make it so I'm not going to go. There again you know just depends on the facts, different circumstances, were there things in your way blocking your visibility or the other person's visibility? It just kind of all depends with a general rule of thumb if you see another vehicle coming down the road, you should not be pulling out, unless you know, you can safely do it.

Gregory Herrman: Okay question number three comes from Ricardo Ortiz, if multiple people are in a car and the car gets hit by someone and everyone becomes injured, do all the passengers and drivers have the same case or each a separate case? So I think the answer there Ricardo is kind of both, everybody is going to have different injuries so you're going to have a different case to that extent, you know one person may have a broken arm and another person may have an injured back or neck, so your injuries are different, they're separate, but your cause of action against whoever hits you is going to be the same, the problem is in most of these cases the insurance company or the defense lawyer is always going to blame the driver of your vehicle, and say he should have done something different, he should have been gone so fast or so slow, or he should have taken better evasive actions, so pretty much unless the driver of your vehicle is rear-ended that there's no dispute about it, then the driver is going to be in a different case than everybody else because he could be partly at fault, and what that also does is that creates a conflict of interest between the passengers and the driver, because if the other side is going to claim, hey the driver was part of the fault, and you're going to say or present a claim or independent fault lawsuit, you're going to have to include that driver probably in just in case of jury comes back and say, yeah it is partly the drivers fault. If you want to get a full recovery you're going to have to include that driver in your lawsuit, so let's say Jerry comes back and says yeah we think the driver your car was at fault, not a lot you know, maybe ten percent or fifty percent but it was still partly at fault, if you didn't name that driver in your lawsuit then you go to trial and the jury finds he's 20% fault and you didn't name them, whatever you recover as far as damages, is going to be reduced by that 20% because you failed to include that driver in your lawsuit, so you know, everybody's kind of got the same cases for damages, but as far as liability, the passengers are in different positions than the driver, so I hope that it explains everything, if not send suggests or post on our Facebook wall or send us an email and we can try to explain further.

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