Who Pays In A Chain Reaction Collision?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | August 18, 2015
Who Pays In A Chain Reaction Collision?

Multiple vehicle collisions are one of the most dangerous and fatal forms of traffic accidents that typically occur on high-capacity or high-speed routes such as highways or freeways.1 These type of collisions are commonly referred to as pile-ups or chain-reaction crashes.

What is a Chain Reaction Collision?

A chain reaction collision occurs when three or more vehicles are involved in a series of connected accidents. The force of the initial collision combined with drivers who are following too closely or at too fast of a speed causes a series of rear-end collisions.2 The structure of a multiple-car accident means that the roadway, becomes a dangerous obstacle course for each vehicle that encounters the previous collision and has to try to avoid a subsequent impact despite unclear alternatives on the roadway. Therefore, the overall problem created by a chain reaction collision is that there are multiple drivers which means that depending on their position or role in the accident, each driver can have a unique level of responsibility or liability for the collision.

Determining Liability in a Chain Reaction Collision

One of the most difficult issues in a chain reaction accident is determining who is at fault. Often the first step is to look at the initial car in the accident line up to determine what caused the collision. However, in the absence of a driver admitting to complete liability, other factors contributing to each part of the multivehicle collision such as bad weather, previous accidents causing obstructions in the lane, road construction, aggressive driving, or drunk driving have to be investigated and identified to determine liability.3 These factors are a significant part of an auto accident or personal injury claim, because in a chain reaction accident the main issue is usually causation. Every possible legally culpable party must be identified as an initial step and then the cause and order of impact has to be investigated. Common sources used to determine a complete picture of how events transpired include eyewitness accounts by all drivers, passengers, and bystanders, police reports that show findings of possible traffic violations or issued citations, vehicle damage, and evidence of debris or road markings at the scene.4 Bearing these sources of evidence and potential points of causation in mind, is an essential step towards establishing fault. The party filing the claim or lawsuit must prove liability under a theory of negligence against any or all drivers who share in liability in order to receive fair compensation.5

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have been in a chain reaction car accident it is important to discuss the circumstances of your accident with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you to determine what claims should be filed and who is liable. Any auto accident is a complex matter, but when multiple drivers are involved the complications increase. This is why contacting an attorney can be a helpful step towards protecting your legal rights and interests. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.


If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.

Call or contact our office online today to schedule a free consultation.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple-vehicle_collision
  2. http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/auto-accident/car-accident-claims/accident-claims-chain-reaction-accidents
  3. https://www.justia.com/injury/motor-vehicle-accidents/car-accidents/chain-reaction-multi-vehicle-accidents/
  4. http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/auto-accident/car-accident-claims/accident-claims-chain-reaction-accidents

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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