Who is at Fault in a Multiple Vehicle Accident?

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Written by: Benton Accident & Injury Lawyers Last Updated : May 14, 2024

When you are involved in an accident involving three or more vehicles, you may be confused about who is at fault. Several factors are used to determine fault, and every state treats multiple car accidents differently. If you’re in a multiple-car accident in Texas, here is how fault is generally determined.

Last car – When several cars are involved in a massive rear-end chain reaction, the person who caused the accident will be liable for all vehicle damages and injuries.
Front car – If other drivers can prove that the front vehicle in a multiple-car accident behaved erratically or stopped for no reason, he or she may be found liable for an accident.
Middle Car – A middle car may sometimes be responsible for an accident, striking the car in front. If a rear driver claims that they did not have enough time to react, the driver of the middle car may be held responsible.
Hit and run or phantom car – Sometimes, the rear car will claim that another factor, like a car no longer there, caused his reaction and the subsequent collision. Damage to the rear car will often clarify whether or not another car was likely involved.
Vehicle malfunction – A defect or vehicle malfunction may cause some accidents. A blown tire, bad brakes, or other factors may be to blame for the accident. If proven, a product manufacturer may be liable for the accident.

Secondary Factors in Multiple-Car Accidents

More often than not, a multiple-car accident includes other secondary factors that lead to the accident. Speed, intoxication, distraction, and fatigue can all play into a multiple-car accident. Police chases are another cause. The chased vehicle may lose control or strike other vehicles at high speeds. These acts of negligence may indicate a fault in a multiple-car accident. In many cases, more than one person may be at fault.

In multiple vehicle accidents, oftentimes, no one admits fault, and everyone may be pointing a finger at another driver. When everyone is telling a different version of the story, an extensive investigation may be necessary to uncover the truth. Often, a lawsuit may be the only way to determine fault and resolve other issues arising from the accident.

Investigating Fault in Multiple-Car Accidents

To determine who will be held liable for an accident, investigators will look at the driver’s history, take photographs of the accident scene, and interview everyone at the scene of the accident. Because many people may be offering a different story, investigators compare witness testimonies with the evidence to determine the truth.

Investigators may find that extenuating circumstances are to blame for an accident. During winter, no one may be held liable if a patch of black ice causes an accident. Other cases that mitigate fault include loss of consciousness to the driver due to a medical condition. Drivers can’t predict when they will have a heart attack, so determining fault is impossible.

Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule. If more than one party is at fault in a multiple-car accident, the damages may be reduced by that percentage of fault. Anyone whose fault in an accident is less than 50% is eligible for compensation under the modified comparative fault rule.

If you are involved in a multiple-car accident in Texas, please get in touch with the Dallas car accident attorneys at Benton Accident & Injury Lawyers. Our free initial consultation can help you determine whether seeking legal action against an at-fault driver is your unique case’s best course of action.

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