3-Car Accident: Who’s At Fault?

Were you or a loved on seriously injured in a chain reaction accident Read our article to learn more about who is at fault in a 3 car accident

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Who Is at Fault in a Chain Reaction Car Accident?

In California, you must first establish fault before initiating the insurance claim process. According to the state’s tort liability statute, it is the at-fault party’s duty to pay for someone else’s losses after a car collision. However, assigning blame in a collision between three or more drivers can be challenging.
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Three-car incidents can warrant further investigation to ascertain responsibility; thus, if you have any concerns about liability, see a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer experienced with three-car accidents.

Who Was Responsible for the Initial Collision?

In a typical car crash lawsuit, the legitimately liable party would be the one that caused the collision’s proximate, or primary, cause. The same is true with a three-vehicle collision that results from a chain reaction. Although several people may have sustained injury and damage to their vehicles, the person responsible for the original collision may be held liable for the accident.
Consider a series of rear-end crashes between drivers A, B, and C. Driver A initiated the collision by colliding with Driver B’s rear. However, the collision happened with such force that Driver B collided with the rear of Driver C. Even if Driver A and Driver C never collided, Driver A would be liable for Driver C’s damages as a result of initiating the original crash that set off the chain reaction.
It could take some time to ascertain who or what caused the original wreck in the three-car collision. It may be more difficult to ascertain blame in a three-car collision involving a lane shift, for example. Driver A or Driver B could be at fault for making an illegal lane change and causing injury to Driver C, who is following them. Depending on the circumstances, one or both drivers can owe compensation to Driver C. It could be necessary to conduct a detailed investigation to decide who is at fault.
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Multiple Drivers May Share the Blame

Certain three-car collisions are not the responsibility of a single driver. Occasionally, many drivers share responsibility for the wreck. California follows the joint and several liability principle, which means that two or more parties will be held jointly and severally liable for damages. Multiple parties can be 100% responsible for economic losses but only partly liable for noneconomic damages depending on percentages of blame. Thus, in a collision with several at-fault vehicles, a survivor can claim complete settlements from several insurance companies.
And if a victim is partially responsible for the three-car wreck, he or she could still be liable for coverage under California’s pure comparative negligence rule. According to sheer comparative fault, even though a complainant is 99 percent at fault for a traffic crash, he or she can only collect 1% of the compensatory payment. Fault with an injury would not exclude the complainant from recovering financial damages as long as another party was not at fault.

Who Is Liable in the Event of a Pile-Up?

Three, four, or five cars can be involved in a pile-up. In several vehicles, pile-ups can result in catastrophic and fatal injuries. The procedure for determining who is at fault in a pile-up is identical to that in a three-car collision. Fault would be assigned to the driver who caused the original collision, since the collision resulted in the other cars colliding. If a commercial truck driver, for example, loses control of his truck and flips it onto three other trucks, and then other cars collide with the debris, the truck driver is liable for all damages.
To assess fault in multi-vehicle car crashes, technicians, wreck reconstructionists, consultants, and inspectors are often needed. Numerous drivers may share responsibility for causing or contributing to the pile-up, or a single driver may be held accountable. To determine if a multi-vehicle collision happened, photos of the scene can be taken, as well as examinations of vehicle injuries, interviews with eyewitnesses, and expert opinions. Victims in three-car collisions or pile-ups should seek the help of aggressive Los Angeles car accident lawyers in determining blame and seeking only compensation.

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