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Operator causing rear-end collision is liable in car accidents

New Hampshire negligence law attributes fault in most instances to a driver who crashes into the rear of another vehicle stopped and stationary at a traffic light.  The driver in rear-end collision car accidents is likely negligent for failing to keep a lookout ahead and for driving too fast for traffic conditions. The driver will be liable for damages sustained by any occupants injured in the vehicle that was rear-ended.

That responsibility can mushroom if the collision was violent enough to cause a chain reaction where the vehicle in front of the rear-ended vehicle is hit from the rear and then goes forward into the rear of the vehicle in front of it, and so forth until the chain reaction stops. Where there are several vehicles stopped at a traffic light and the negligent operator ploughs into the last vehicle waiting in line at a fast speed, the likelihood of a chain reaction will be great. There was just that kind of a chain reaction accident recently in New Hampshire.

It occurred at the intersection of Chesley Hill Road and Main Street in Gonic. A 43-year-old man who was reportedly speeding crashed into the rear of the last of several cars stopped at a red light. He caused a chain reaction and a five-car pileup. Several of the vehicles were totaled and could not be driven from the scene. Two operators were transported to Frisbie Memorial Hospital with injuries.

Police reported that they do not suspect drug or alcohol impairment. Witnesses did report, however, that the offending vehicle was speeding, which indicates the operator's inattentiveness and possible recklessness. Pursuant to New Hampshire negligence law pertaining to car accidents, he is legally liable to pay damages to anyone injured in any of the vehicles in the chain. Where there are multiple claims and insufficient insurance coverage by the wrongdoer, each injured person must look to the underinsured motorists' coverage purchased in their own vehicle liability policy.

Source:, "Two injured in New Hampshire pileup", July 22, 2017

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