If a car rear-ends my car at a red light which causes me to rear-end another car and I have no insurance, can I be held responsible for damages to the car in front of me?

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If a car rear-ends my car at a red light which causes me to rear-end another car and I have no insurance, can I be held responsible for damages to the car in front of me?

We just found out we are being sued for the accident which happened almost 2 1/2 years ago. The van was not insured at the time. At a stoplight a car rear ended my mother which cause her to rear end the car in front of her. Now the car from the front is suing. I don’t believe there was any physical injury to any body.

Asked on March 11, 2012 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, can your fault be proven? As a general matter, a driver is not liable for damage to another vehicle (or injury to another person) unless he or she was at fault, which typically means driving negligently or carlessly. Generally, if you were rear ended and forced into another car, you would not be at fault absent special circumstances showing that you somehow did something wrong. However, that does not prevent the driver you hit from suing you; you would then defend by showing the circumstances and that you were not at fault. (You will need testimony, police reports, etc. to establish what happened, how.) You may also try to either implead the driver who hit you--bring him or her into the case--or else separately sue him or her for any damage you suffered or to seek reimbursement of any amounts you are forced to pay.


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