Liability for pile up on rainy night?

by Christopher
(Arkansas)

I hit a wreck that already existed involving three other cars. The second car in the pile up (who rear-ended the leading car) is considered "at fault." Will I, as the last car, receive any compensation?

In this accident, the 3rd car swung sideways and blocked the signal lights of the car in front of it, making it impossible in the dark/rain to see the wreak until it was too late. Who do we file against for compensation, and can we file for it at all? Who is liable for this accident? Does the weather factor into liability? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Liability for pile up on rainy night?":

Christopher (Arkansas):

Unfortunately, just as the second car was liable for crashing into the first, you may be liable for crashing into the cars in front of you. This is true even if it was difficult to see the cars in front if you.

Under Arkansas Code Section 27-51-305:

"(a) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway."

The above statement, otherwise known as the "Following Too Closely" law, requires drivers to stay far enough behind vehicles in front so that a car crash can be avoided.

Inasmuch as any damage to your car was caused by your crashing into the cars in front of you, it is very unlikely you will be successful in a property damage or personal injury claim against any of the cars in front of you.

You may be surprised to learn that the owner of the car you crashed into may file a property damage or personal injury claim against you for crashing into it. The owner’s claim may be based on their perception that you violated Section 27-51-305 of the Arkansas Code.

Report the accident to your insurance company. You are likely contractually obligated to do so. Your insurance will work with the insurance companies of the other drivers to determine the relative percentages of fault for all parties in the accident.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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