I need to do some homework for court. It has been more than 30 years since I was in a physics class. I was the middle car in a three-car crash at a stop light - traffice started to move after the light turned green, then all of a sudden someone in the line in front hit their breaks. The vehicle in front of me stopped. I stopped. Then I was hit from behind. I can find out the weights of all the vehicles involved and the approximate distance my vehicle traveled after inpact (12-14 feet) from the rear until it hit the vehicle in front of me and the distance that vehicle traveled (2-3 feet) after impact. What I need to find out is: how fast was the vehicle that hit me going and how much distance I should have been from the vehicle in front of me to avoid hitting it. I don't believe that I can simply add 12 and 2 or 14 and 3 to get the answer because I asssume that my vehicle and the vehicle I hit must have absorbed some of the energy generated by the vehicle that hit me ... as did that vehicle. The vehicle that hit me had to be towed because the front end was demolished and my vehicle is badly damaged: there is a crease in the driver's side rear quarter panel, the tailgate is inoperable, the sliding side door is jamed and will not open, the rear fender is destroyed, the front fender is cracked. The vehicle I hit has minor damage -- the rear fender is scraped and slightly dented. And I got cited for "following too close"! I say there is no way as 12-14 feet is just about a car length. I need to try to work out the physics to prove it in court. Thanks!