Who is at Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?

Rear-end collisions are generally rather straightforward. The vehicle that hits the other from behind is considered to be at fault, regardless of how unexpectedly the car in front stopped. However, if you were recently involved in an accident that involved more than two vehicles, you might be wondering how fault is determined.

In pile-up cases, a single driver can still be at fault for the accident due to the fact that, by rear-ending the vehicle in front of him or her, a chain reaction was caused, leading to a pile-up. However, determining fault is usually a much more complex process since each driver has a duty of care to others on the road. If someone was speeding, following too closely, or distracted and using a cell phone, these factors might all play a role in determining liability for a multi-vehicle accident.

Determining Fault

In order to determine fault, investigators will:

  • Look over police reports

  • Whether or not any of the drivers were ticketed for outstanding warrants, intoxication, possession of narcotics, speeding, lack of insurance, tailgating, reckless driving, etc.

  • Interview the drivers involved as well as passengers and witnesses at the scene

  • Take photos of the vehicles and the accident scene

  • Review the records of the drivers involved, such as prior arrests and accidents

Fault will not necessarily be assigned to one driver. It can be spread amongst many drivers. In some cases, authorities might even recognize mitigating or eliminating circumstances, holding no one at fault for the accident. This is rare, but possible. For example, if it is a snowy day and each motorist is driving with caution when one encounters an ice patch and slams into another vehicle, causing a pile-up, he or she might not be held liable. If a driver suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness, causing a multi-vehicle accident, he or she might not be held liable either.

San Jose Car Accident Attorneys

When car accidents happen, it is often an overwhelming experience for those involved, especially if injuries are sustained. The aftermath can be just as troubling as the accident itself. At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, our legal team is prepared to take every case to trial, regardless of how severe or minor the accident is. We are here to protect your interests.

Contact our office today at (800) 900-0863 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team. We handle every case on a contingency fee basis, so you will not owe us any legal fees unless we win your case.