Who Is at Fault for a Multi-Car Collision?

A multi-vehicle collision with the words, "who is at fault for a multi-car collision?"

Driving home from work, Driver B notices that the car in front of her has come to a stop. Slowing down, Driver B is able to stop but she is closer to the car in front of them than the recommended two-car limit. Driver C, on her cell phone, didn’t notice Driver B stop and ends up running into Driver B who then is pushed forward into Driver A. Driver D, who was following Driver C too close, ends up colliding in the back of Driver C. All the drivers sustained injuries and are seeking compensation, but who is at fault for the multi-car collision?

Multi-car collisions, also known as “chain-reaction” collisions are difficult due to the varying circumstances that led up to the accident. Since there are more than two drivers, it may be difficult to figure out who is at fault or from whom to pursue compensation. Here is how fault is established in a multi-vehicle collision.

Proving Negligence

When an individual goes to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against another driver, they need to be able to prove the liability of the other driver. This is often done by proving that the other driver acted negligently.

Investigators determining fault for the accident often consider whether one driver was driving too close or not following the law. When it comes to multi-car pile-ups, this can be difficult to pinpoint as there are multiple drivers involved. This is when investigators look to the actions leading up to the accident itself. For example, let’s revisit our previous scenario.

The Role of Negligence in the Accident

To figure out who is negligent in the multi-car collision, an investigator looks at what led up to the accident:

Driver A pulled up to the stoplight and stopped.

Driver B was able to stop safely but may have been following too close, not allowing for two car lengths between them.

Driver C was distracted while driving due to texting on her cell phone. She collided with Car B, which then collided with Car A.

Driver D was following too close and ended up colliding with Car C.

In this scenario here is how the investigators deemed who was at fault:

  • Driver A was found to have no-fault because he was following his duty to other drivers and himself by following the law.
  • Driver B was assigned 10% of the fault for following too close to Driver A.
  • Driver C was assigned 60% of fault due to distracted driving resulting in a collision with Driver A.
  • Driver D was found to be 30% at fault due to following too close.

When it comes to multi-car collisions, there is no limit to how many drivers may be assigned fault. For example, if it turned out that Driver A was talking on the phone and slammed on his brakes last minute to avoid going through the intersection, then Driver A may be assigned fault as well, changing up the rest of the percentages.

Establishing the Order of the Impact

It’s not only the drivers’ testimonies that count towards finding fault within the drivers. Investigators, insurance companies, and lawyers will be turning to the following to find out the whole story behind the accident.

  • Eyewitness accounts: These can include passengers in any of the cars and others on the road who witnessed the accident.
  • Police Reports: These reports are prepared to show the officers’ findings and if any of the drivers broke any traffic laws.
  • Damages to the Vehicles and Evidence: Includes any skid marks on the road, video footage from traffic cameras, and vehicle debris.

Determining Liability

Texas is a comparative negligence state which means that the drivers are held liable for damages depending on their percentage of fault. Because of this, individuals must be under the 50% threshold to claim any losses from another driver. From the example before, Driver A, B, and D would be able to claim compensation, but Driver C would not.

Branch & Dhillon Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured in an accident, it may feel like your whole world has screeched to a halt. The dedicated attorneys at Branch & Dhillon can help you claim the compensation you deserve by holding the liable party accountable. Contact our team today to schedule a free no-obligation consultation or for more information on our services!

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