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When someone is stopped and rear-ended, if the force is significant enough, it is not uncommon for the rear-ended vehicle to be pushed into a car stopped in front of that vehicle. This fact pattern is a fairly typical of cases reported to car accident lawyer Roger Gelb of Gelb & Gelb, P.C. The insurance company that insures the back (at-fault) party, before they agree to pay for the property damage of the middle car, and of the front car itself, will insist on a statement from the front car which places all blame on the furthermost back vehicle. If they can confirm that the front vehicle only felt one impact, they should/will pay for the all property damage in the accident, and ultimately will bear responsibility for the injury claims, if any.
In another chain reaction/multi-vehicle accident scenario, our client may the front vehicle. In this case, Roger Gelb will always ask the client how many impacts that person felt, just as an insurer does, and for the same reason. Often the driver sees the impact(s) in their rear view mirror, and knows just how the accident occurred. If the middle vehicle struck the front (client's car) and then is rear-ended and pushed into the front car, causing a second impact, the client has a claim against both parties. These injury claims are typically resolved with a 50% contribution from each carrier. However, in rare circumstances, the front driver/passenger (client) will report that they are certain that they injured certain body parts due to the first impact (e.g., neck and back), and then perhaps their wrists were injured as a result of the second impact; thus the value of the separate claims against each driver will depend on the ultimate diagnosis and treatment for each individual injury.