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What Is A Secondary Car Crash?

Posted by Jimmy Sunosky | Feb 25, 2022

Houston TX Car Wreck Lawyer

A secondary car crash is any crash that happens as a result of another “primary” car crash. According to the Federal Highway Administration, one in every five car crashes is a secondary crash.

Drivers should never make the mistake of assuming “secondary” crashes are any less dangerous or deadly than primary crashes. A multi-car pile-up is a dangerous example of a secondary crash.


Secondary car crashes can happen easily and in a number of ways. The most common type of secondary crashes is a rear-end collision.  For example, if you are waiting at a stop light and a driver rear-ends the car behind you thereby causing that car to rear-end you.  The initial crash behind you was the primary crash.  Your crash is the secondary crash.

  • Secondary crashes can also be caused by:

  • Stalled or disabled vehicles

  • Tailgating

  • Rollover accidents

  • Sideswipe accidents

  • Drivers swerving to avoid highway debris or animals in the road

  • Slowing down to look at traffic accidents


Secondary car crashes can happen anywhere a primary car crash can, but they are most common in more populated urban areas or on major highways such as Highway 59 in Houston, TX.  A small accident in heavy traffic can result in several other accidents if other drivers aren't able to react in time.


Because secondary accidents usually involve three or more vehicles, it can be difficult to assign liability. This is especially true in Texas, where more than one driver could be considered at fault.

 If you were involved in a multi-vehicle crash, your best option is to hire an experienced car crash attorney who can help identify witnesses, hire the necessary expert witnesses and compile evidence to prove the other drivers' actions contributed more to the accident overall.


To avoid secondary car crashes, always stay alert on the road and be prepared to react quickly.

Always leave plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you.  Ample space is critical in avoiding a crash.

  • Avoid speeding.  It is more difficult to react in time to unexpected traffic situations when you're speeding.

  • Drive appropriate for road and weather conditions.  For example, drive slower when it's raining.  The roads can be slick and more difficult to stop in time.

  • Always use your turn signal before changing lanes.  Motorists behind you rely upon vehicle movement signals to know how to react.

  • Make sure your headlights and brake lights are working.  Other motorists need to see if your car is approaching or if you're slowing down or stopping.

  • When you see signs of an accident, such as flashing lights or stopped cars, ahead of you, proceed with caution.

  • Keep your eyes and attention focused on the road ahead.  Don't slow down to look at other accidents, i.e., “rubbernecking.”  


If you are involved in a secondary car crash in Houston TX you can seek compensation for your injuries and losses, but you have to prove the other drivers were at fault.  Proving fault on your own can be difficult because many factors are involved such as weather conditions, traffic patterns and condition of the roadway.  The knowledgeable Houston TX Car Crash Attorney at Hernandez Sunosky, LLP will have the resources to help you prove the other driver's negligence after an accident.  Call us 24/7 at (713) 981-4100.

We work only on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront fees for our services. You only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your case.

About the Author

Jimmy Sunosky

Jimmy Sunosky is an AV Preeminent rated lawyer and elected member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters, a Top Lawyer by Houstonia Magazine and a Top Lawyer H by Texas Magazine. He is dedicated to helping accident victims and their families find justice and obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries or death. Before co-founding Hernandez Sunosky, LLP, he worked as an insurance defense lawyer. He applies the knowledge and experience gained while working with insurance companies to his work as an advocate for the injured.

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