I was in a multi-vehicle accident, can I sue more than one driver?

Each accident is unique and will vary, but it possible that you may sue more than one driver in the state of NY, if more than one person is to blame. NY state uses the pure comparative negligence rule. The rule says in a multi-vehicle accident, the amount of compensation is directly proportionate to the driver’s percentage of fault.

Example of pure comparative negligence:

Frank was driving 60 miles per hour down the highway in New York. The posted speed limit was 65 miles per hour. Josh was behind Frank and suddenly smacked into Hank’s car. The impact of the collision sent Frank’s car into Sue’s car directly in front of him. All three drivers were injured.

It was later determined Frank was traveling approximately 150 feet behind Sue when he hit her. The New York Vehicle and Traffic Code Section 1129 states:

a) “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent [careful], having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”
Under the rule of pure comparative negligence, Frank isn’t 100 percent liable for striking Sue. The distance he was traveling behind Sue affects the percentage of his liability. Here’s where it gets complicated.

Sue accuses Frank and Josh of causing the collision. Frank says he isn’t at fault because he was a safe distance away from Sue just before the impact. Frank tells Sue’s insurance company to seek 100 percent of her damages from Josh and not from him. Josh’s insurance company says they accept responsibility for Josh’s injuries, but not for Sue’s. Josh says Frank alone caused Sue’s injuries.

It’s unlikely the three different insurance companies will settle this case. A jury will decide what Josh’s percentage of liability is and what percentage is Frank’s. The jury will also decide whether the 150-foot distance between Frank and Sue’s cars was “reasonable and prudent.”

As you can see, multi-car accidents can get super complicated quickly. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a multi-car accident, you need someone on your side that can evaluate your case and make sure that the responsible party, or parties, compensate you for the damages you have incurred. For immediate legal advice and a full evaluation of your case please contact the experienced attorneys at Goldstein & Bashner today.

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