What Happens if Two Drivers Caused the Accident?
Certainly, the typical car accident occurring on Maryland's highways involves one vehicle, unfortunately, coming into contact, with varying degrees of force. Certainly, that is not the only way an accident can occur. We've sen accidents where:
- A car strikes the car in front, causing that car to be propelled forward into the car in front of it.
- At enough speed, the above scenario can be repeated: the so called "chain" motor vehicle accident.
- After an initial collision between two vehicles, one of those vehicles careens into other structures or people.
An often overlooked line of cases in Maryland clearly states that where a plaintiff has shown that more than one individual caused an accident and that they were injured as a result, their job is done. They have met their burden of proof.
They don’t have to prove which is more likely, or which conduct caused which injury.
These cases state that in this instance, the burden of proof then shifts to the defendants to show, as among responsible defendants, that they did not cause or contribute to the happening that led to injury. So, then, there are some ramifications. If it is clear that there are two drivers that caused an accident, and you have a passenger that did not contribute to the happening, responsible insurance companies for the two at-fault drivers are sometimes willing to accept responsibility on a 50/50 basis. The injured person should beware:
To the insurance company, accepting responsibility and making a reasonable, fair settlement offer to make recompense for that responsibility are very, very different things.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 7/2/20.