Dangers of Secondary Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,096 people died in car accidents in 2019. However, thousands of more drivers and passenger vehicle occupants suffered horrific and life-changing injuries. Secondary car accidents occur due to another, primary, car accident. These accidents typically happen due to driver distraction. Secondary car accidents can have serious consequences for all motor vehicle occupants involved. While establishing fault in a clear-cut car accident can be reasonably straightforward, secondary car accidents may present significant challenges. Proving who was at fault can be tricky and may require a great deal of investigative research, or even accident reconstruction specialists. 

If you or a loved one experienced a secondary car accident, you may have injuries and losses. Consider contacting the experienced car accident attorneys at Fletcher Law Office for advice. You could potentially recover compensation from the negligent driver. Additionally, we can help ensure the protection of your legal rights if another party or parties are attempting to hold you responsible for a secondary car accident. We would welcome the opportunity to visit with you today for a free case evaluation at (816) 631-2868.

Understanding the Causes of Secondary Car Accidents

Many factors can potentially contribute to secondary accidents, including drivers trying to avoid cars, people, and debris in a roadway. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), secondary car accidents mostly involve an impact to another motor vehicle or hitting a barrier.

Reasons and causes of secondary accidents can include the following: 

  • Drivers following too closely (tailgating) 
  • Spilled truck cargo from a large commercial truck or smaller truck 
  • Sudden stopping or swerving 
  • Stalled vehicles still in the roadway 
  • Sideswiping accidents 
  • Slowing down to look at the accident ("rubbernecking")

Secondary accidents typically happen due to distraction and the curiosity of drivers who are trying to catch a glimpse of the primary accident. However, secondary car accidents may have potentially catastrophic consequences. According to the NCBI, a secondary accident increases the risk of serious injuries by a factor of 3.5. If a secondary accident happens on a high-speed motorway or highway, the results of a multiple-vehicle pile-up can be devastating for all car occupants involved. Moreover, determining liability in a secondary car crash that involves several vehicles can be legally complex and challenging. If you suffered harm and damage to your car in a secondary multi-vehicle crash, consider consulting with the Fletcher Law Office. We can help you determine negligence and help you receive compensation for your injuries and losses.

Proving Negligence in Secondary Car Accidents

Proving negligence in any car accident is crucial to have a chance of recovering compensation for injuries and losses. In a car accident personal injury lawsuit, a victim must prove:

  1. Duty of care

Motor vehicle drivers generally owe a duty of care to all other road users. All drivers must take reasonable caution to avoid car accidents and injuring others. 

  1. The negligent driver breached the duty of care.

A driver who causes an accident due to distracted driving, or by speeding past an accident scene, most likely breached their duty of care towards other drivers. A victim has to show that a reasonable driver would not have behaved in the same way.  Breach of duty can include many acts such as following too closely, driving aggressively, operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or failing to yield. 

  1. The car accident happened as a result of the driver’s breach of duty.

To have a strong claim and receive compensation for your injuries and losses, a victim must prove that the other driver’s breach of duty and negligent act directly caused their accident, injuries, and property damage. In a complicated secondary car crash, causation can be legally challenging to prove. 

  1. The victim suffered actual injuries or losses.

In order to recover compensation for any injuries and other expenses related to a car accident, a victim needs to prove that they suffered damages in the accident. This can include property damage, medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other types of damages. The plaintiff will have to provide evidence of damages such as medical statements, car repair receipts, and other applicable documentation.

Merely knowing that the other driver is responsible for an accident and your injuries as well as financial losses is not enough to have a strong personal injury case. You will need to provide clear and compelling evidence that illustrates the other driver’s negligence. Moreover, there could be several at-fault parties in your claim. Having a knowledgeable car accident attorney by your side can help prove fault in your claim.

Determining Compensation in Secondary Car Accidents

If someone else’s carelessness caused your accident and injuries, you could potentially recover a number of economic and non-economic losses. While the exact amounts and types of compensation will depend on the severity and permanence of any injuries, a plaintiff could potentially recover: 

Medical Expenses

If another driver caused your car crash, you could receive all medical expenses incurred due to the accident, including future medical expenses. Compensation should include hospital stays, medical devices such as a wheelchair or crutches, prescription medications, surgeries, and physical therapy. If you suffered disabling injuries, you could potentially recover expenses for a home health aide or modifications to your home and car. 

Loss of Income 

Accident victims who suffered significant injuries may not be able to return to their careers for a considerable amount of time, if ever. Compensation from a personal injury lawsuit can potentially provide accident victims with compensation for loss of wages and future income losses. They could also potentially receive compensation for any loss of future earning potential. 

Pain and Suffering

An accident victim can suffer from considerable pain and anguish after a serious accident. Pain and suffering can include any physical pain as well as emotional distress. Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of life quality, for example, can be legally challenging to prove. 

Damage to Property

If another driver’s negligence caused damage to the plaintiff’s car or the contents inside the vehicle, the victim should receive reimbursement for any repairs, the vehicle’s replacement value, and the same for the contents inside the car.

Learn How the Fletcher Law Office Can Help You After a Secondary Car Accident 

You do not have to struggle with developing a strong personal injury case, or negotiating with insurance companies after a secondary car accident by yourself. Learn more about your legal options and ensure they remain protected by contacting an experienced car accident attorney at the Fletcher Law Office today at (816) 631-2868 to find out if you could receive compensation for your injuries and losses resulting from a secondary car accident. 

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