Who is at Fault in a Multiple Vehicle Accident?
When you step out of a car in an accident involving 3 or more vehicles, you may be confused about who is at fault. There are several different factors 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 held liable for everyone’s vehicle damages and injuries.
• Front car – If other drivers can prove that the front vehicle in a multiple car accident was behaving erratically or stopped for no reason, he or she may be found liable for an accident.
• Middle Car – At times a middle car may 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 that is 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 – Some accidents may be caused by a defect or vehicle malfunction. A blown tire, bad brakes, or other factors may be to blame for the accident. If proven, a product manufacturer may be held liable for the whole accident.
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 vehicle being chased may lose control or strike other vehicles at high speeds. These acts of negligence may indicate fault in a multiple car accident. In many cases, more than one person may be at fault.
In many multiple vehicle accidents, 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.
To determine who will be held liable for an accident, investigators will look at driver 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 have the job of comparing witness testimonies with the evidence to determine the truth.
Investigators may find that extenuating circumstances are to blame for an accident. During winter, if a patch of black ice causes an accident, then no one may be held liable for the 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, then the amount of damages may be reduced by that percentage of fault. Anyone whose fault in an accident is less than 50% is eligible to receive compensation under the modified comparative fault rule.
If you are involved in a multiple car accident in Texas, please contact the Dallas car accident attorneys at the Benton Law Firm. Our free initial consultation can help you determine whether seeking legal action against an at-fault driver is the best course of action in your unique case.