When in a rear-end accident involving 3 cars, who is responsible for the damages?

UPDATED: Sep 28, 2010

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When in a rear-end accident involving 3 cars, who is responsible for the damages?

I was rear-ended by an insured car that car was re-ended by an uninsured car ie (the uninsured car pushed the insured car into mine). I don’t have any insurance on my car. The insurer of the car that hit me, says that the driver of the uninsured car is the one responsible for my damages. I have always been under the impression that if you were rear-ended by someone you are at fault even if someone else caused you to have the accident on the theory that you didn’t give yourself enough space between you and the car ahead of you. What is the law?

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Accident Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Actually, the case of Car B being forced into Car A by the action of Car C, which rear-ended Car B, is one of the few cases where Car B is not "automatically" liable. It still may be, depending on the circumstances, such as if it was following too closely; however, there are cases where the driver of Car B is found to not be at fault, because he *was* leaving sufficient space, but Car C struck either at such a high rate of speed, or when Car B was at rest (e.g. at a light; neither A nor B was moving, and B had left the usual amout of space between cars stopped at traffic light) that Car B was forced into A despite B's driver doing everything right. So in this situation, while the driver of B may be at fault, it's not a given that he or she was. You should consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate all the circumstances of the collision and advise you as to the strength of any case. Good luck.

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