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Who Is Responsible For A Multiple Vehicle Crash?

Who Is Responsible For A Multiple Vehicle Crash?

In 2021, fatalities from multi-car vehicle crashes rose by 16%. Driving carefully is more important today than ever before.
Multi-car crashes are often a chain reaction where one car hits another, and then another vehicle collides into one or both of the first two vehicles. The pattern continues until multiple cars are involved in a pile-up accident.
This article will outline who is at fault in a multi-car accident.

Take this example of a multi-car accident. 

Driver A is texting and doesn’t stop in time for a stop light. Driver A drives into oncoming traffic which is luckily not too heavy that Friday night.
Driver B has the right of way and cannot brake in time enough and hits Driver A. Driver C follows and hits Driver B. Driver D has enough distance to change lanes and continue driving, and is not involved in the accident.
Driver A is at fault due to texting while driving.

Proving fault can be a challenge.

Sometimes the person who is first in the accident is found to be liable. Other times, liability depends on each scenario.
The person proven liable will be responsible for compensating involved parties for injuries and damages. Things become complicated when an insurance company wants to prove their client’s innocence, or partial-liability rather than full–or when multiple parties and insurance companies are involved.
Some states have what is called comparative fault. The comparative fault law states that an injured party will be compensated relative to the amount of fault they had in the accident. So the amount they receive for damages may be decreased.
For example, in some cases, 50% fault or more prevents a party from collecting on damages no matter the severity.

These two examples illustrate liability.

Liability, or fault, is as follows: 

  • Drive A is speeding and runs into Driver B because they can’t brake in time enough to stop the vehicle from rear-ending. Driver A is at fault.
  • Driver A turned on their signal and made a right turn. However, they were following too closely to Driver B and rear-ended them. Driver A is at fault. 

Sometimes two (or more) people are at fault.

There are also scenarios when more than one driver may be at fault.
Driver A may be the car that initially hits another car to start a pile-up. However, say that Driver B did not have enough time to react and therefore hits Driver A.
Driver C is talking on the phone and does not notice the accident ahead, in which they have plenty of time to avoid or slow the brakes.
Driver C goes and hits Driver B because of the lack of focus. In this case, Driver A and Driver C carry liability for the multi-car pile-up.

Contact a St. Louis car accident attorney today.

A car accident attorney can help unearth the truth, and determine the details and series of events leading up to an accident. If you are ready to take the next step toward protecting your legal rights, set up a free consultation with a St. Louis car accident attorney at Bruntrager & Billings, P.C. Contact us at 314-646-0066 or through our online contact form.