Determining fault in a multi-vehicle car accident typically comes down to finding which driver initially acted negligently. It is not as easy as deciding who was at fault in an accident involving two cars. In multi-vehicle car accidents, the negligent driver’s actions result in multiple vehicles around them mimicking this action, such as when the force from a rear-end collision causes the front vehicle into the back of another car.
Multi-vehicle car accidents occur for several reasons. Inclement weather can affect a driver’s visibility, poor road conditions can cause accidents, or a distracted driver could lose control of their car and create a pileup.
If you are unsure how your insurance company determined fault in your multi-vehicle car accident, you can consult a lawyer to help assign liability if you decide to file legal action. Multi-vehicle car accidents can cause severe damage and injuries, so you will want fair compensation to recover the losses you endured.
Determining fault, especially in multi-vehicle car accidents, can be complicated. Whether your state enforces no-fault or at-fault policies plays a part in determining fault. You will need ample evidence to prove fault in a multi-vehicle collision.
Assigning Liability in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident
The driver who failed to practice their duty of care to keep surrounding drivers safe, resulting in the multi-vehicle accident, will likely bear responsibility. It may seem obvious who is liable for starting a domino effect, but not always. Every multi-vehicle car accident is unique, and investigators will likely need to perform an extensive breakdown of what happened to produce a fair decision to all parties involved.
Especially in a multi-vehicle car accident, drivers involved in the crash may point fingers at the person they blame for starting the accident and refrain from admitting any fault. While onlookers and other drivers might believe that the driver who initiated the chain reaction is guilty for the entirety of the aftermath, this may not turn out to be accurate. It is rarely that simple to determine fault in a massive multi-car accident.
The Importance of Witnesses
Witnesses who were not involved in the crash are crucial in cases like these. They often are impartial observers, and they likely will base their accounts on precisely what they saw. Drivers involved in the accident have a vested interest in refusing to take the blame. They might believe that the person who caused the initial collision is responsible for everything that happened due to their negligence. Of course, it is possible that multiple drivers did not commit any wrongdoing in a multi-car accident.
If several witnesses corroborate each other, this solidifies a case that might otherwise be difficult to work through. It is imperative to get bystanders involved after a multi-vehicle car accident. Take down their contact information, including their name and phone number. Witnesses can offer critical information to the case.
Law Enforcement Involvement
You should absolutely call the police to the scene to file a crash report, which will contain essential details for assigning liability later. Police will pay attention to the facts, and at this time, they will take pictures and review video surveillance, if available. The police report will likely contain a great deal of evidence to examine that could determine fault in a multi-vehicle car accident.
If you seek fair financial recovery for injuries and property damage, hiring a lawyer might be wise. You may not want to rely on an insurance company to determine fault in a multi-vehicle auto accident, which by its nature makes accurately assigning liability challenging. An insurance company will not have your best interests in mind, whereas a car accident lawyer can fight for the best possible outcome for you. With sufficient evidence, they can demonstrate how all the drivers in the accident acted and how it affected you.
No-Fault and At-Fault States
In no-fault states, each driver’s insurance covers their injuries, typically through personal injury protection (PIP) policies, but you could still claim against the at-fault driver for property damage.
In at-fault states, as the Insurance Information Institute (III) explains, “liability insurance pays for the policyholder’s legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage. Collision and comprehensive insurance cover property damage…to the policyholder’s car.”
States may also recognize comparative negligence and pure contributory negligence, affecting liability and how much compensation you might receive for your injuries and other damages.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, Is on Your Side
An individual may feel lost by not knowing how fault is determined in a multi-vehicle car accident. With the assistance of law enforcement and witnesses, an insurance company adjuster has started working on your case. You might find that hiring a car accident lawyer could have a substantial impact on your case.
If you suffered injuries in a multi-vehicle car accident caused by another driver, you could qualify for compensation. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today at (800) 959-1444 for your free case evaluation with a member of our team to find out your options.