Florida is a no-fault state. This means the people injured in these accidents must go through their insurance companies first. Chain reaction accidents happen far more than we care to admit and can cause significant injuries, damage, and even fatalities.
Florida Chain Reaction Accidents
Multiple reports of chain reaction accidents are reported in Florida each year. In February of 2021, in Pembroke Pines in Broward County, two officers were stopped after finishing a traffic stop, and one of the vehicles with its emergency lights on was struck. The officers suffered minor injuries due to debris, and the driver and passenger had to be cut out of the vehicle and taken to the hospital.
In April of the same year, a tractor-trailer driver failed to brake in time for stopped traffic on the Courtney Campbell Highway in Tampa. This caused an eight-vehicle collision that sent two people to the hospital with injuries.
Causes of Chain Reaction Accidents
There are many causes we can pinpoint for these accidents; however, the most common occurs when the driver acts negligently and displays unsafe driving behaviors like the following:
• Driving while under the influence
• Texting and driving
• Failing to use turn signals appropriately
• Driving in adverse weather conditions
• Not using headlights
• Driving while distracted
• Driving a vehicle that has not been properly inspected
All of these behaviors are considered negligent but can still be difficult to prove. You also have to consider the comparative negligence law in Florida that states if a driver files a lawsuit for damages and is found to be partially responsible, their compensation will be decreased according to their percentage of fault in the accident.
Who Is Liable in Chain Reaction Accidents?
The initial collision is what causes the chain reaction. So, when one car fails to stop in time, it collides with another vehicle. That vehicle then hits the one in front of them, and so on—it causes the chain reaction. Most of the time, the driver who caused the initial accident is held liable for all the damages and injuries.
Florida law requires that all motorists maintain a safe following distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. If the car followed too closely and couldn’t stop in time, they could be found at fault for the chain reaction accident.
However, there are also exceptions to this. For example, the first driver is stopped at a red light, and another driver is behind them. A third driver is texting while driving and doesn’t see the cars stopped at the light in front of him. In this case, the third driver who wasn’t paying attention is the one who will be at fault, and his reckless actions make him liable for all damages and injuries incurred.
As you can see, since there are so many different scenarios, it can be difficult to determine exactly who is liable. The injured parties will need to go through their insurance first and use up whatever personal injury protection (PIP) coverage they have before they can seek compensation from another driver.
If you were involved in a chain reaction accident and weren’t the driver that caused the initial collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help.