Determining Fault in Multi-car Crashes By Foley Law Firm on July 16, 2021

car accidentCar accidents frequently result in personal injuries, which in turn lead to financial damages. Liable parties should be held accountable for the physical, emotional, and financial losses associated with a car crash, but before that can happen fault has to be established. Determining liability is often tricky, because drivers usually don’t readily accept fault.

Determining fault in a multi-car crash can be especially complex, since there are so many people and vehicles involved. Car accident lawyers at the Foley Law Firm work with accident recreationists to investigate what caused a multi-car crash, so that their Scranton, Stroudsburg, and Wilkes-Barre, PA, clients can be justly compensated for accident damages.

Who Caused the Initial Impact?

Multi-car crashes usually involve a chain reaction, which means that one vehicle crashes into another, and then the force of that impact pushes the second vehicle into a third. Sometimes multi-car crashes end at three vehicles, but often the chain continues, so that a multi-car crash can involve numerous parties. When investigators are attempting to establish liability for a multi-car crash, the first question they ask is, “who caused the initial impact?”

The driver who is responsible for the first impact in a multi-car crash is nearly always held liable for at least part of the accident damages, and often all of them. This is based on the principle that without the first impact, there would be no chain reaction, and none of the subsequent crashes would have occurred.

Can Liability Be Shared?

While it is common for one person or party to be held liable in a multi-car crash, there are cases where accident fault is shared. Every driver is responsible for doing their part to keep themselves and other drivers safe. If a driver breaches that duty of care, they can be held at least partially responsible for accident damages. 

In the case of a multi-car crash, liability can be shared if it is shown that a driver failed to take appropriate measures to prevent an accident, or if it is shown that a driver’s actions contributed to the collision or kept the chain reaction going. Some driving practices that could lead to a driver being assigned partial liability for a multi-car crash include:

  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving a vehicle without functioning brake lights

Investigating the Details of a Multi-car Crash

In a multi-car crash, every detail of the accident needs to be investigated to determine what contributed to the collision, and whether more than one driver is at-fault. Since each driver only experiences one portion of the accident, they don’t usually have a complete picture of the collision. It is essential that accident investigators rely on multiple sources of evidence to establish liability. Common sources of evidence include:

  • Testimony from involved drivers
  • Testimony from accident witnesses
  • Evidence from the scene (i.e. road conditions, the presence of skid marks, etc.)
  • Photos or video of the accident and/or accident damages
  • Police report

Request a Consultation

Car accident lawyers at the Foley Law Firm sort out the details of a multi-car crash and establish liability so that accident victims can hold liable parties accountable for crash damages. If you have been injured in a car accident and would like to know how our lawyers can be of assistance, request a consultation online, or call our law firm at (570) 342-8194.

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