A recent five-car chain reaction accident in West Virginia illustrates some principles of negligence in rear-end collision cases. In those kinds of car accidents, it is often very difficult to impose liability on any of the operators other than the initial offender who started the chain. The accident happened on U.S. Route 220 in front of Blackburn Square in Keyser.
The chain was started when a passenger car rammed into the rear of a Jeep. The Jeep then struck a pickup truck in front of it and the pickup crashed into the vehicle in front of it. That fourth vehicle then rammed into the fifth vehicle. This is the type of chain where the first vehicle is responsible for clear-cut negligence in not being able to stop in time.
The negligence extends also to the driver's probable inattentiveness and not keeping a sharp lookout ahead on the highway. However, it is difficult to attribute negligence to the other vehicle operators in that they did not take any affirmative voluntary action; instead, their vehicles reacted involuntarily to a rear-end impact. Under the circumstances, it would have been extremely difficult for any except the first vehicle operator to do anything to stop from impacting the vehicle in front of it.
The driver of the Jeep was taken to the hospital and others may have been injured. Any persons injured have a viable claim against the first driver based on the driver's negligence. That would include even any passengers in the first car because passengers may generally claim damages against their own driver if he or she was negligent. Car accidents in West Virginia and other states that involve a chain reaction may be analyzed in this way, but there are always twists so that an experienced personal injury attorney will be best equipped to determine the parties responsible for the accident.
Source: newstribune.info, "5-car chain reaction accident slows traffic on Route 220", July 18, 2017