Chain Reaction

A driver is waiting for the traffic light to change to green when a car slams into him from behind. It seems to be a typical two-car fender bender accident — just one among the thousands of such accidents that occur in Washington State each year. You’ll need a Sammamish personal injury attorney to help determine the proper fault.

But what if it’s not? What if that man sitting in his Toyota at the light was hit by a Ford, which in turn was reacting to impact with a Chevrolet, which in its turn was reacting to contact from a Nissan? How does the Toyota driver ensure his or her rights are protected and the right person will compensate him or her for the damage? Determining liability becomes a careful game of parsing who did what to whom and in what order?

It really boils down to who was doing what. For example, if the driver of the Toyota was stopped and the driver of the Ford likewise was stopped before being hit by the Chevrolet, then the drivers of the Toyota and the Ford are probably not liable. But if the Ford wouldn’t have been able to stop regardless and the impact of the Chevrolet was only a contributor to the impact of the Ford, then the Ford might be liable, as well.

In other words, there is no easy answer. It’s important to know the questions to ask and the information to collect at the accident scene. Experienced attorneys are skilled at accident reconstruction and determining fault. And they often work with trained experts who analyze, investigate and draw informed conclusions about what happened and how.