What if After I Was Rear-Ended I Hit the Car in Front of Me?

Written by Jobeth Bowers. Posted in .

Getting rear-ended is a traumatic experience and can cause serious, potentially life-threatening injuries to you and your passengers. When hit so hard that the impact pushes you into colliding with the car in front of you, even more stress is added to that equation. If you have been in a rear-end collision and slammed into the car in front of you, you may also worry about whether you are liable for the damage to the car you hit.

Learn about what you can do if you get caught in a chain reaction car accident, who can be held liable, how to protect yourself in the immediate aftermath, and how a knowledgeable Maryland car accident attorney can help protect you. If you are involved in a chain reaction rear-end accident, call or text us at 667-220-6500 or submit the online contact form to request a free consultation.

What is a Chain Reaction Car Accident?

man and a woman looking at a rear end accident

A chain reaction car accident, or pileup, occurs when one accident causes a secondary crash. For example, if a car rear-ends you and pushes your car into the car in front of you, that is a chain reaction accident. It involves a cascade of collisions with at least three vehicles involved. At the extreme, some of these accidents can involve over 200 cars, usually due to inclement weather, which causes poor visibility and dangerous road conditions.

When multiple vehicles are involved, everything becomes more complicated. You can have more injuries and property damage, which will range in severity based on the speed of the vehicles.

Chain reaction accidents are among the most common rear-end accidents today. These occur in various ways, and it is crucial to have the guidance of an experienced attorney to guide you while you navigate Maryland’s contributory negligence laws. Maryland car accident attorneys know the tactics that insurance companies might use to limit or deny your claim and can use this knowledge to strengthen your claim. For example, your attorney can communicate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf to avoid tricky questions that confuse you and cause you to agree to statements that may indicate some small level of responsibility for the accident.

Over the years, Bowers Law has successfully navigated hundreds of rear-end crash situations, and we want to offer our legal advice and guidance to help you achieve fair compensation in an accident. 

What to Do When You’re Rear-Ended and Hit the Car in Front of You in Maryland

Knowing what to do when you are rear-ended and hit the car in front of you is essential for all involved.

  • First, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Call 911 and request medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, you may not notice something serious. For example, some soft tissue injuries are not immediately noticeable but can become more serious and painful over time.
  • Stay in your car and keep your seatbelt buckled. If you leave your car and start walking around, you risk being hit by another vehicle, which can be deadly. Instead, stay where you are and put on your hazard lights. Wait until the crashes stop before you get out and move to a safe location.
  • Call the police. Depending on the accident’s severity and how many vehicles are involved, they may send more emergency medical responders.
  • Document the crash scene by taking photos of your injuries, the cars involved, any skid marks or debris on the roadway, visible property damage, and closeups of all vehicle damage.
  • Write down important information. Note the location, the direction everyone was driving, and the chain of events.
  • Gather contact information for all involved drivers, including name, insurance information, and phone number.
  • Give an accurate statement of the accident to authorities. The police report will be crucial evidence for any future lawsuit.

As with other types of accidents, seek an attorney to handle your injury case from the beginning, even before the personal injury claim reporting process. Doing so will relieve you of having to field multiple calls from several insurance companies as the situation unfolds.

Who’s At Fault? Determining Liability in Rear-End Collisions That Result in Multi-Car Accidents in Maryland

Who is liable in an accident is always an important question to answer. Chain reaction accidents vary widely in liability because of the likelihood that there were multiple causes for the crashes. The rear driver who initially crashed into the first car is usually at least partially liable. However, the fault may fall elsewhere as well.

The driver who was rear-ended and slammed into the car in front of them may be held partially liable if their actions or inattention contributed to the accident. For example, if they were following the car in front of them too closely or driving distracted, they may be considered partially liable.

In another situation, if equipment failures like nonfunctioning brake lights caused part of the accident, the driver of that vehicle may be held partially liable.

With so many potential at-fault drivers, confusion and complexity can abound in these accident cases, and it may take time to sort out all the liable parties. If you are involved in a rear-end car accident like this, it is crucial to consult with a Maryland car accident lawyer who can examine the case details, evaluate your potential liability, and argue for the compensation you deserve in the aftermath.

The Physical and Emotional Impact of Rear-End Collisions and Multi-Car Accidents

man wearing an arm cast

Like any car crash, a chain reaction car accident can cause emotional and physical injury to the people involved. The level of these injuries can vary based on the accident’s circumstances, such as if the rear vehicle was driving at high speed. While some injuries, such as lacerations or bruises, are visible immediately, many are not.

The most common types of physical injuries from rear-end collisions include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, whiplash, broken bones, soft tissue damage, and more. Chain reaction accidents can worsen these injuries because they involve multiple impacts.

The emotional effects of a multi-car accident include stress, PTSD, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and other emotional injuries that impact your life. These effects can be long-term, preventing you from returning to the life you led before the crash.

Auto accident victims need to understand that all their physical and emotional injuries from the accident should be included in their insurance company claim or lawsuit. Your PIP insurance may or may not cover these completely, but an experienced Maryland attorney can advise you on what legal options you may have going forward. During your free consultation with us, we’ll help you understand your coverage options.

Preventing Rear-End Collisions: Tips for Staying Safe on the Road in Maryland

While the last thing you expect to happen when you get behind the wheel of your car is a multi-vehicle accident, the reality is that one can occur at any time. Here are some tips for staying safe on the road each time you go out.

Slow Down and Maintain Stopping Distance

Slow down, especially in inclement weather, and avoid tailgating other drivers. If the driver in front of you brakes suddenly, you should have enough distance to stop safely without colliding. If driving conditions are challenging, such as it is raining or the road is icy, increase your stopping distance so you can still stop in time, should it be required.

Stay Away from Tailgating Drivers

Pay attention to the driver behind you. If they are following too close, change lanes or move onto the shoulder to allow them to pass. Don’t engage them or tap your brakes to warn them to back off. Such actions usually only serve to enrage the tailgater or have no effect whatsoever on their behavior. The safer reaction is to remove yourself from their path.

Stay Aware of the Road Around You

Be aware of driving conditions and the cars around you at all times. If an accident happens near you, being alert can give you the reaction time to avoid joining the collision. Staying aware also reduces your liability in the event of a crash.

Respect Tractor-Trailers

Always maintain a safe distance if a semi-truck is in front of you and avoid driving directly next to one. Stay ahead or behind so the driver can see you and the vehicle has room to swerve to avoid obstacles without hitting you. When these trucks crash, they sometimes jackknife, taking out any smaller vehicles around them in the process.

Also, do not cut off a semi-truck on the road. These big rigs cannot stop quickly and may not be able to prevent rear-ending you.

Know Your Car

Become familiar with the capabilities of your car. For example, you should know how quickly your vehicle can stop. If your brakes are worn out, give yourself more stopping room and schedule an appointment with your mechanic.

From Fender-Bender to Lawsuit: Navigating the Maryland Legal System After a Rear-End Accident

rear end car accident

Because fault in a chain reaction accident can be difficult to determine and may be shared between several people, it is important that you hire a lawyer who can protect you during the legal proceedings that follow.

An experienced vehicle accident lawyer can help determine liability, calculate what compensation you deserve, and argue for you to receive that compensation from the liable parties. Your lawyer can also help you communicate with the police and insurance companies, compile evidence, and handle logistical details while you focus on healing after the accident.

An all-too-common misconception is that insurance companies, especially your own insurance company, are on your side regarding the claim reporting process. Yet, they are a business, and their first priority is their bottom line. After a car accident, you should allow an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney to take the front line in reporting claims to all insurance companies, especially when there is a situation where the blame may be shifted.

We Help When You Are Caught in the Middle

Being in a two-car crash is stressful enough, but what happens if you are caught in the middle of a chain-reaction accident? Injuries and vehicle damage can be more severe, and establishing liability becomes complicated. The personal injury lawyers with the law firm of Bowers Law in Maryland can help.

We have years of experience representing car accident clients, including multi-vehicle collisions. We will communicate directly with all the insurance companies involved so you receive fair compensation. Contact our Maryland office today by calling or sending a text message to 667-220-6500, or use our convenient online contact form to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

Jobeth Bowers

Written By Jobeth Bowers

Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law

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