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Multiple Faults In Multiple Vehicle Crash

A stopped tow truck triggered a chain-reaction crash that engulfed six vehicles and sent several injured victims to the hospital.
The wreck took place on the Staten Island-bound side of the Gowanus Expressway. A minivan rear-ended the tow truck; a Toyota then rear-ended the minivan, causing it to overturn. Almost immediately thereafter, a pickup truck rear-ended the Toyota. An NYPD detective at the scene said the Toyota looked like “an accordion” after it was caught between the other two vehicles. “It looked like it went through a vehicle press,” he added.
The drivers in both the Toyota and the up-ended minivan had to be extricated from the wreckage before they were rushed to local hospitals with serious injuries. It took first responders nearly an hour to cut away the wreckage. During his ordeal, the Toyota driver, whose name was not released, kept shrieking “Just please get me out of here! Please get me out of here!” First responders were finally able to free his legs, a move that appeared to calm him.
The expressway was blocked for several hours as rescuers and investigators performed their work.
Contributory Negligence
In a multi-vehicle collision, there is often more than one tortfeasor (negligent driver). For example, in the above story, the tow truck might have been stopped in a lane of traffic without its hazards on and the other vehicles may have been speeding.
The law is very generous to victims in these situations, because New York is one of only twelve pure comparative fault states. If there is evidence of more than one tortfeasor, the jury must apportion responsibility between the drivers as a percentage of their fault. So, assume that the jury finds plaintiff 60 percent responsible and defendant 40 percent responsible. If the damages were $10,000, plaintiff would recover $40,000 in New York.
In most other states, plaintiff would receive nothing under those facts, because they mostly employ a modified comparative fault rule. This rule requires the defendant to be at least 50 or 51 percent negligence if the plaintiff is to recover.
Damages in a serious car crash case typically include compensation for economic losses, like property damage, and noneconomic losses, like emotional distress. Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.
Even if a plaintiff was partially, or even mostly, at fault, recovery is still possible. For a free consultation with attorneys who know how the law works, contact our office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a personal injury case.

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