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Driver slams on brakes on freeway causing multi-car collision - are they at fault.

Manchester, CT |

Driver (1) slammed on brakes and stopped on freeway causing multi-car collision. Car at end of collision was sited. Driver (1) also stated to State Trooper it was her second rear end collision in less than 2 hours. Is this driver at fault?

Attorney Answers 7

Posted

It depends on a lot of factors. Usually in a rear ender the driver who does the rear ending is at fault because you are always supposed to leave enough distance for someone stopping short in front of you. There are exceptions though. If you're worried about who pays for property damage, call your insurance company and explain why you don't think you were at fault. Vid you were injured and you think it is another driver's fault, you should see a lawyer to discuss the specific facts.

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Asker

Posted

In CT - what is the definition of reckless driving. Does an emergency stop of a freeway (slam on brakes and stop the car) when there is no reason to stop equal reckless driving. 2nd if the emergency stop results in an accident, (like a driver pulling in front of you and hitting their brakes) consitute reckless driving? I read that a person did an emergency stop on the (Merritt) for ducks in the road, two motorcycle riders were killed when they rearended her; and she was charged with reckless driving (& manslaughter). Is / are their such precidences?

Pamela L Cameron

Pamela L Cameron

Posted

There are certain statutes that define reckless driving and case law that interprets what those statutes mean. Check out 14-222 and 14-295. You can go to the State of Connecticut website and find the statutes there. I'm also cutting and pasting them for you: § 14-222. Reckless driving (a) No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public highway of the state, or any road of any specially chartered municipal association or of any district organized under the provisions of chapter 105, a purpose of which is the construction and maintenance of roads and sidewalks, or in any parking area for ten cars or more or upon any private road on which a speed limit has been established in accordance with the provisions of section 14-218a or upon any school property recklessly, having regard to the width, traffic and use of such highway, road, school property or parking area, the intersection of streets and the weather conditions. The operation of a motor vehicle upon any such highway, road or parking area for ten cars or more at such a rate of speed as to endanger the life of any person other than the operator of such motor vehicle, or the operation, downgrade, upon any highway, of any motor vehicle with a commercial registration with the clutch or gears disengaged, or the operation knowingly of a motor vehicle with defective mechanism, shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this section. The operation of a motor vehicle upon any such highway, road or parking area for ten cars or more at a rate of speed greater than eighty-five miles per hour shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this section. (b) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than three hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or be both fined and imprisoned for the first offense and for each subsequent offense shall be fined not more than six hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned. § 14-295. Double or treble damages for personal injury or property damage resulting from certain traffic violations In any civil action to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property, the trier of fact may award double or treble damages if the injured party has specifically pleaded that another party has deliberately or with reckless disregard operated a motor vehicle in violation of section 14-218a, 14-219, 14-222, 14-227a, 14-230, 14-234, 14-237, 14-239 or 14-240a, and that such violation was a substantial factor in causing such injury, death or damage to property. The owner of a rental or leased motor vehicle shall not be responsible for such damages unless the damages arose from such owner's operation of the motor vehicle.

Posted

Why did driver 1 slam on her brakes? That must be answered to determine if she has fault. If there was no condition that caused her to do this and/or she was following too close to another vehicle and thus had to make a sudden stop, then she may have liability.

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Posted

According to the driver in front of me, she just slammed on her brakes and came to a complete stop on the interstate. There was an accident on the on-ramp and he thinks she stopped (to see it better). There were no cars in front of her.

Joseph John Bernardo

Joseph John Bernardo

Posted

A local attorney would be able to assess that information along with the accident report and any witness statements to give you an opinion on fault/liability. Of course, insurance carriers do this day in and day out as well and if it's your carrier they will do the same in your case. Do provide them this information.

Asker

Posted

Thanks, will do.

Joseph John Bernardo

Joseph John Bernardo

Posted

No problem, and good luck. I think there is an issue to explore there.

Posted

It's difficult to make liability determinations from a short post. If you were injured, retain a personal injury lawyer to investigate. If a claim is made against you, tender to the claim to your insurance company.

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Posted

Typically, each (or any) car behind the first that failed to leave enough space or were going to fast to stop before hitting the car in front is negligent. This is called the assured clear distance ahead rule. Each driver is supposed to leave enough space and at such a speed that they can stop before hitting the car in front if that car were to stop --even if they slammed on the brakes.

If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.

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Posted

My passenger said he did not see any brake lights on the car in front of us. I panic stopped because I saw the car's rear end raise up and start to go sideways (like in a skid).

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Posted

I'm not sure what you are describing here. From your question are you car 1? Even if car 1 slammed on the brakes, typically the cars behind must still have maintained a clear distance ahead--staying far enough behind to stop without hitting the car in front even if the car in front stops suddenly.

Asker

Posted

No I was 3rd car (end). According to 2nd car - Car 1 slammed on brakes and came to complete stop - he saw no cars in front of car 1. My passenger saw no brake lights on car 2, I hit that car. There was an accident on the right on-ramp, and car 2 driver thinks car 1 stopped to "observe" the arguement between those 2 drivers (on ramp). Question 2 - was car 1 "reckless driving" by stopping (no cause / risk) - a complete stop on the freeway?

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Posted

It is hard if not impossible to give a definitive answer without more information but typically the claim can be made that you failed to leave the required space to allow you to come to a stop without hitting the car in front of you. With regard to question 2, again not enough facts but I can see the driver being cited for stopping or some other charge of careless driving--not sure about reckless driving. Again, need more facts.

Posted

I wish I had been present for this collision to give you an honest assessment. In any case, let your carrier know so that the insurance company can investigate. Make sure you cooperate with your carrier.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.

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Posted

Thanks question. The driver that "emergency stopped" on the freeway admitted this was her "second" accident where she was rear-ended in less than 2 hours. If she has caused multiple accidents, looking for insurance payouts, is there a way to find out about how many times, frequency or other information about this individual?

Posted

A lot more info is necessary.

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Posted

It's against Avvo's terms of service to make a determination about fault. Simply report it to your insurance company to resolve.

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