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Chain-reaction crash leaves several vehicles damaged

A video shows an Ohio Highway Patrol vehicle getting caught in a multi-car pile-up on a busy section of road in downtown Cleveland. It just shows how easily a chain-reaction crash can happen when someone doesn't follow traffic safety rules.

The trooper allegedly flashed his lights at a driver for multiple violations but instead of pulling off to the side of the road, the driver stopped right in the middle of the lane in which she was driving.

The trooper in the vehicle managed to get the driver's license and sit back down inside his own vehicle just in time for a car in the lane to hit another, forcing that car into the trooper's vehicle. The impact then forced the trooper's vehicle into the car he had originally stopped. In the end, four cars, including the state vehicle, were involved in the chain-reaction crash that took place in seconds, and one car sat perched on top of another.

Unfortunately, it's likely to take months to figure out who is responsible for what percentage of the crash. The first driver could have driven to a safer spot before pulling over, the trooper could have directed the driver to move, and the car in the far end should have slowed down enough that it didn't hit the car in front of it as it slowed for the trooper's car.

In Ohio, the law follows a modified form of comparative negligence. That means that anyone found 51 percent or more at fault for an accident is unable to collect for any damages in a lawsuit. In addition, your ability to recover is reduced by whatever percentage of fault you are assigned.

In an accident involving multiple vehicles, the court (or insurance companies) will first have to come to an agreement about which driver is responsible for how much of the accident as a whole. Only then can the amount of each person's total liability -- and total compensation -- be determined.

As you can imagine, multiple-vehicle pileups are incredibly complicated equations that rely a lot on accident reconstruction (or video) and assessments of individual liability. And all of that comes before each person's injuries and losses are calculated, including any pain and suffering. Anyone involved in a crash with more than one vehicle involved is well-advised to seek legal assistance promptly.

Source: Fox 8 Cleveland, "Video shows chain-reaction crash on downtown Cleveland highway," Ed Gallek, March 24, 2017

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