Have You Been Involved in a Chain-Reaction Car Accident? Read below ...
A chain reaction car accident occurs when Vehicle #2 rear-ends Vehicle #1, and Vehicle #3 hits Vehicle #2, which hits Vehicle #1 again. The plaintiff felt two impacts, which could only happen under this fact pattern.
While the plaintiff’s treating physician would testify that plaintiff’s injury is related to the accident. the problem is that the doctor could not state which impact caused the injury.
In Maryland, we have joint and several liability, so there is no question that there can be more than one proximate cause of an accident. This means that each driver who caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to be hit is liable individually. It also means that each driver who caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to be hit is liable together with all other drivers that caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to be hit.
Although the plaintiff can only receive one recovery for the injury, the plaintiff can receive payment from all at-fault drivers. The insurance policies of the at-fault drivers are combined to compensate the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, if Car #2 has an insurance policy of $20,000 and Car #3 has an insurance policy of $20,000, the plaintiff can receive up to $40,000.00 for the injury.
Under Thodos v. Bland, 542 A.2d 1307, 75 Md.App.700 (Md. Appl., 1987) and Consumer Protection Division v. Morgan, 387 Md. 125 (2005) as well as the second Restatement of Torts in Comment D to Section 433 B, the defendants have the burden of proving their proportion of harm, which is each defendant’s share of the money due the plaintiff.