Novato Multiple Vehicle Accident on Highway 37


Novato Multiple Vehicle Accident on Highway 37

I’m Ed Smith, a Novato car accident lawyer. One person died and another was seriously injured in an accident involving four motor vehicles on Highway 37 in Novato on June 29, As always, my sympathy goes out to the family of the deceased and to the critically injured individual.

What Happened

The accident happened at about 3:00 p.m. near Atherton Road when a Ford pickup, encountered a traffic backup on 37 eastbound and could not brake in time to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of it, according to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) representative. The F-150 rear ended a Lexus in the fast traffic lane, pushing the Lexus forward into two vehicles in front of it. Reportedly, the pickup driver visualized the Lexus sedan but could not stop.

Details of the Accident

A passenger in a sedan who died at the accident site was identified as an 81-year-old Sonoma man. The driver of the Lexus was helicoptered to a nearby hospital and was said to be in critical condition. One other person involved in the pileup was also transported to a medical facility for what are being described as minor injuries. Paramedics treated the pickup driver at the crash site.

All lanes of the roadway were closed for about two hours while the accident was cleared and an investigation as to cause was begun. Police advised motorists to take the exit at Atherton Road to link to Highway 101. Highway 37 was reopened for traffic.

Responders at the Scene

Aside from CHP law enforcement officers, rescuers from the Novato Fire Protection District and the sheriff’s office in Marin County were at the scene. Personnel from the CHP air operations unit were also on hand.

Chain Reaction Crashes

When one vehicle hits another from behind, usually because that vehicle was following too closely behind the lead vehicle, a series of collisions may follow. The rear-ended vehicle may strike or be pushed into the vehicle in front of it, starting what is known as a chain reaction.

Liability in Chain-Reaction Accidents

Drivers have the responsibility of operating their vehicle in a safe manner. One facet of this is that the motor vehicle operator needs to allow an adequate distance between their vehicle and another immediately preceding them. This gives the driver sufficient time to stop, and avoid hitting the lead vehicle.

Liability in this case is usually determined by the circumstances of the accident. If the driver who rear ended the car in front of him or her breached their duty of care by not being alert to traffic conditions and following too closely, he or she will be considered at fault. In such cases, front-end damage to one vehicle and rear-end damage to the other will be seen.

It is very important to refrain from using a hand-held device while driving. Texting and driving accidents have greatly increased the number of serious and deadly injuries received on our nation’s highways.

Drunk driving accidents tend to increase around the 4th of July holiday. Take extra precaution to arrange for a designated driver if you plan on drinking at an event.

What Happens When Multiple Vehicles Are Rear Ended

In cases where multiple vehicles are stopped, such as in congested traffic, and the rear vehicle fails to allow room to stop, he or she will be responsible for damages. Not only will the negligent driver be responsible for hitting the vehicle directly in front of them but is usually held liable for damage to the other vehicles.

Comparative Negligence in a Rear-End Accident

Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, if you are in a two-car accident and were partly responsible for the crash due to negligent behavior, some of the liability may fall on you. An example might be if you are caught in slowed traffic but do not have working brake lights. This is especially true at night. In this case, you would be partly responsible if you are rear ended. Let’s say you are 30 percent responsible for the collision. You can still recover 70 percent of your damages.

What Happens When a Third Car Is Involved

But what happens if you hit the car or truck in front of you? Since you did not have working brake lights and are partially responsible for being rear ended, the driver of the vehicle you hit may have a viable claim against both you and the vehicle that hit you. Consulting an experienced injury lawyer to help determine liability is important in this situation.


Attorney Ed Smith

Novato Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Novato car accident lawyer. When your family member or you yourself have been injured due to an accident, phone (415) 521-2515 for my free and friendly advice. You can also call 800-404-5400.

Find some of my previous cases at Verdicts and Settlements. Client reviews are located at Google Plus, Yelp and Avvo.

Million Dollar Advocates, of which I am a member, accepts membership only from trial lawyers who are highly ranked with settlements/verdicts of $1 million or in the multimillion dollar range.

As a California injury attorney for over three decades, I have helped numerous Californians, including residents of Novato and Marin County, collect fair compensation for many types of personal and traumatic injuries, including wrongful death.

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