• Brad Keating

Who Is at Fault in a Multi-car Rear-end Accident? | Legal Questions Answered

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 6 million car accidents occur in the United States every year. Of these accidents, 2.4 million are rear-end collisions.


A rear-end collision often becomes a multi-car accident because one car crashes into another, which collides with another.


It can often be difficult to determine fault in a chain-reaction car accident. These accidents can occur for a number of reasons, including inclement weather, faulty brakes, poor road conditions, and distracted driving.


A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help!


Suppose a motorist involved in a multi-car pile-up decides to initiate legal proceedings and is confused about how their insurance company has decided fault in their case. In that case, they are advised to obtain legal counsel from an attorney.

These car accidents can result in serious property damage and casualties, so compensation may not just be an option, but a necessity to many.


It can also be challenging to determine who is responsible for the accident, especially in collisions involving more than two vehicles. Determining negligence is influenced by whether the state follows a no-fault or at-fault policy.


In a multi-vehicle crash, a plaintiff will need much evidence to prove who was at fault, and the best car accident attorneys in Columbus from Keating Law Firm can help to gather enough evidence to support their claim.


What Is a Multiple Car Accident?

What Is a Multiple Car Accident?


In simple terms, a multiple car accident is a car crash involving more than two motor vehicles. A third car can collide with the first two, causing a chain reaction or a domino effect when two cars collide. One driver collides with another, who collides with another, and so forth.


Rear-end accidents are one of the most prevalent forms of multiple car accidents. Other examples of such accidents include:

  • Head-on collisions

  • Collisions at junctions or intersections

  • Lane change accidents

Numerous drivers are involved in these collisions, making it difficult to obtain a personal injury settlement for damages and injuries sustained in the accident.

This is why it is so important for accident victims to have an experienced and reliable personal injury attorney on their side. Get in touch with Keating Law Firm today to receive legal counsel and begin legal proceedings.


The Most Common Reasons Why Multi-car Accidents Occur


Multi-car collisions can occur for a variety of reasons. It could be as straightforward as two vehicles colliding in a rear-end accident, which causes a chain reaction. It can also be as complicated as a multiple car pile-up on a highway for an unknown reason. Here are some of the most common reasons why these accidents occur:

  • Driving recklessly or while under the influence

  • Poor lighting

  • Ignoring speed limits

  • Changing lanes without checking blind spots

  • Poor visibility

  • Inclement weather conditions that make it hard to see or difficult to slow a vehicle or bring it to a complete stop

  • Accidents involving trucks can cause more than one driver to crash

  • Poor road conditions or lack of proper signage


The Difference Between At-fault and No-fault States


The laws differ from one state to another, as some states are no-fault states, while others are at-fault states.


No-fault States


In no-fault states, every driver involved in an accident must approach their insurance company, which normally provides coverage for any injuries sustained in the multi-vehicle accident through personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Drivers can still file a claim for property damage against the at-fault motorist in no-fault states.


At-fault States


Liability insurance covers any legal obligation a driver may have to others for injury or damage to property in at-fault states. Any damage to the policyholder's vehicle is covered by comprehensive and collision insurance in these states.


Some states could also acknowledge pure contributory and comparative negligence, which can alter responsibility and the amount of compensation a motorist receives for their losses.


How Is Liability Determined in Multi-car Accidents?


The motorist who failed to exercise their duty of reasonable care to keep other drivers safe will almost certainly be held accountable. It may appear evident who is responsible for causing a chain reaction crash, but this is not always the case.


All Chain-reaction Accidents Are Different


The truth is that every chain-reaction car crash is different, with its own unique set of facts, and investigators will most likely need to complete a thorough investigation to reach a fair conclusion for all concerned parties.


Determining Liability With Several Vehicles Involved Can Be Challenging


Drivers engaged in chain-reaction accidents, in particular, may place blame on the individual they believe caused the accident and refuse to admit their part in the incident.


While observers and other motorists may feel that the person who started the domino effect is responsible for everything that happens afterward. However, this isn't always the case. In a large multi-car accident, determining liability is rarely easy.


Witness statements and police involvement can prove imperative when determining fault in crashes involving multiple vehicles.


Involving the Police Is Crucial in a Multi-car Accident


Motorists are advised to contact law enforcement at the accident scene. A police officer will file a police report containing crucial information that can help assign blame later.


Law Enforcement Often Reviews Valuable Evidence


Officers will pay close attention to the details and, if video surveillance is obtainable, he or she will take images and review them. In a multiple car accident, the police report would most certainly contain a large amount of evidence to evaluate to determine fault.


Witness Statements Can Be Important in a Rear-end Crash Involving Three or More Vehicles


In circumstances like these, eyewitnesses who were not engaged in the accident are vital. Most onlookers are simply unbiased observers, and their statements will most likely be based on what they witnessed.


Motorists Often Deny Negligence


The motorists involved in the multiple-vehicle crash have a strong interest in denying responsibility. They may assume that the individual who triggered the first collision is to blame for everything that happened thereafter. In fact, numerous drivers in the multi-car crash likely did nothing wrong.


Several Concurring Witness Statements Can Simplify an Otherwise Challenging Case


If numerous witnesses support each other, a case that would otherwise be complicated to handle becomes more strong and easier to deal with. After a chain-reaction accident, it's critical to engage onlookers. Make a list of their contact details, containing their contact details.


The Driver of the First Car Is Often the One to Blame


Firstly, drivers must understand that the first car to collide with the back of another vehicle is generally the one who is to blame. This is because the rear car has the best chance of avoiding the collision.


The rear vehicle can observe what's ahead, travel at a reasonable speed, maintain a safe gap between the cars, and, if required, move out of the way. Chain-reaction accidents generally occur when a driver fails to do one or more of these things.


Can Multiple Drivers Be at-fault?

Can Multiple Drivers Be at-fault?


The reality is that it isn't always the driver who causes the first collision, which is at fault in a multi-car accident.


When most people think of a rear-end accident, they often envision a line of traffic that is disrupted by a driver who fails to stop in time, causing several other vehicles to collide with those in front of them. In such cases, proving liability isn't difficult. However, these are often not the only scenarios.


An Example of a Multi-car Accident


Here is another example of a rear-end accident in which multiple parties are at fault:

Driver A crashes into driver B because they were tailgating. In this accident, driver A is responsible. Another car, driven by driver C, follows and is oblivious to the crash because he is distracted.


Driver C fails to stop in time and makes contact with driver A's car, further complicating the situation. Driver C is liable for the harm caused to driver A and his vehicle since he was distracted.


When many cars are involved in a chain reaction accident, everything can become more complicated, and troubles begin to mount. It might be challenging to assign blame and compensate people when two or more drivers are partially responsible for the damage caused to multiple vehicles.


Need a Car Accident Lawyer? Get in Touch with Keating Law Today!


It is often difficult to assign blame for car accidents, and accidents involving three or more vehicles can be quite complicated.


This often discourages injured parties from claiming compensation for their injuries or damage to their vehicles. However, when drivers have an experienced attorney at their side, it can be a game-changer.


Attorneys at Keating Law aren't afraid to take on multi-vehicle car accidents, challenging big insurance companies, dealing with large corporations and helping to get a victim into a rental car.


Those involved in such an accident can get the assurance they need to fight for the compensation they are entitled to by hiring a lawyer from Keating Law. Contact the firm today by dialing (866) 836-4878 to book a free consultation and case review!