Am I liable for costs in hit and run if I was the third car in a chain reaction?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I liable for costs in hit and run if I was the third car in a chain reaction?

I was driving down the interstate to work this morning in a normal, heavy morning commute. Traffic on the 5 lane interstate started to slow as there where accidents ahead. I was in the far left hand lane. As I began to slow down I got a jolt to the back of my car, rear ended. I pulled to the shoulder, as did the person who hit me. He got out and asked if I got the guy’s plates who hit him? I didn’t see anyone I said. I didn’t know anyone had hit you. His car obviously was hit by another vehicle and that vehicle left his bumper and parts behind. I am told by my insurance company that I will have to pay my high

deductible for any damages. I do not understand this. Wasn’t it the car behind me that was at fault? Rear-end accidents are always the fault of the person from behind. We were still moving, say 40 mph. He wasn’t 4 car lengths back as law dictates. I didn’t hit the person in front of me. Where is the justice?

Asked on January 30, 2017 under Accident Law, Indiana


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In a chain reaction three car rear-end collision, the car that hit the car behind you is liable for the accident and the damage to your vehicle.  The car that was pushed into you after being  hit by another car is not liable for the damage (cost of repairs) to your vehicle.
Since the first car  fled the scene, unless that vehicle is located and the driver is apprehended, it is unknown whether or not that driver had insurance.
At this time, since the  hit and run driver has not been identified, it is assumed that there is no insurance.  Therefore, to have your car repaired, you will have to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company which is why you are being compelled to pay your deductible.
Your insurance adjuster and agent are correct.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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