By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Winter is only officially recently started, but already seems endless. Who’s liable for multicar pileups?

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Seventy vehicles slammed into each other on an icy Masschusetts highway last month, sending 35 people to the hospital with injuries, and leaving everyone with insurance-related headaches. Particularly in the bad winter weather, multivehicle pile ups are common even among us commoners, so the question is: who has to pay for the damage? When one car hits another that plows into a third and so on, each driver is assigned a percentage of the blame based on his own negligence.

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While the first car may be responsible for hitting the second, if the second hit the third because he was driving too fast and couldn’t stop in time that will affect his liability. From there, the law in the state will also affect whether someone who was not at all liable for the accident can recover any money.

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It is an incredibly difficult calculation, and one that you should turn over to your insurance company and/or lawyer to handle if you didn’t park the car when the ice set in.