Who is Liable in a Multi-Vehicle Accident?

Two classic trucks

See how fault is determined when three or more vehicles are involved in a pileup.

Most car accidents involve one or two vehicles. However, there are situations in which three or more vehicles are involved. Sometimes even dozens of cars and trucks are involved. These are often chain-reaction crashes on highways, in which one vehicle rear-ends another, and then that vehicle rear-ends the one in front of them. These may be caused by poor weather conditions, such as rain, ice, or snow.

When multiple vehicles are involved in an accident, this presents a challenge. Establishing fault often proves difficult and time-consuming. Investigators are called upon to help determine liability. This is done by assessing various factors. They may interview drivers and passengers. They may rely on dashcams, surveillance video, eyewitness testimony, smartphone footage, photographs, and other evidence to determine how the crash happened.

Normally, when a car hits the vehicle ahead of them, the driver in the rear would be held liable. This is because the car traveling behind must stay a safe distance behind the car in front. Otherwise, they can be accused of tailgating.

However, in a multi-car crash, it can be more difficult to establish who did what. In a pileup, law enforcement officials will want to know whose negligent actions set off the chain reaction. Were other drivers speeding or driving too close?

The more vehicles involved, the more complicated it is to determine liability. The police report will usually cite which car is at fault. However, it is possible for two or more cars to share the blame for a multi-car accident. The amount of fault will be determined by either the police officer who writes the report or by the insurance adjusters. For example, one driver may be deemed to be 70% at fault, while another driver takes the remaining 30% of the blame.

In complex cases, accident reconstruction may be required. This involves interpreting the clues left by any physical evidence of the accident. Accident reconstructionists work in reverse, documenting and studying evidence at the scene to determine how a crash happened. Accident reconstruction may reveal that various factors led to the crash, such as speeding, running stop signs and red lights, dangerous road conditions, visibility issues, and loss of control.

What to Keep in Mind

Multi-vehicle crashes are often serious. The damage to the vehicles involved is often more extensive. Vehicles may be hit multiple times in different areas. There is also an increased likelihood of bodily injury. Both drivers and passengers tend to be injured more severely. A person who is found at fault for a multi-car accident could be sued by the other injured parties.

Contact Our Texas Car Accident Attorneys Today

Multi-vehicle crashes and pileups can be complex accidents. Determining liability requires a thorough assessment of the crash.

Seek legal help from a Texas personal injury attorney from the Law Office of Raul A. Guajardo, P.L.L.C. We will help determine liability, so you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation with our office today by calling (956) 318-3200 or filling out the online form.