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Who Is at Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Crash?

May 24, 2021Car Accidents

After a multi-vehicle crash, it can be challenging to figure out who is at fault or responsible for damages. Typically, more than one party will be liable, but significant factors will determine how fault is assigned.

The Last Car

The driver of the last vehicle is generally considered at fault for causing a multi-vehicle crash. They may be liable for all other accident victims’ injuries and property damage. However, if there was a sudden stop by the front or middle car, Missouri’s rule of comparative negligence can be argued, which is explained below.

The Car in the Middle

The driver of the middle vehicle will most likely be partially responsible for the damage and injuries to the front car and its driver. However, if the last vehicle rear-ended the middle car so hard that it was pushed into the car in front of it, then they may not be considered at fault. The middle vehicle will pursue a claim against the last car for their injuries, property damage, etc. If the driver in the last vehicle can prove they did not have enough time to react to the middle vehicle or that the middle vehicle hit the front car first, the driver in the middle vehicle may be entirely or partially liable for the accident.

The Front Car

The front vehicle is generally not at fault in a multi-car crash. Unless the middle vehicle can prove the front car suddenly slammed on their brakes, then the front driver may be partially at fault for the middle car’s damages.

How Does Comparative Negligence Impact a Multi-Vehicle Accident Claim?

Missouri follows the rule of pure comparative negligence when it comes to determining fault for car accidents. This rule allows drivers to pursue accident claims against other parties’ insurance companies, even if they were partially to blame for the collision. The catch is, the compensation awarded to a partially liable party will be reduced or eliminated according to their percentage of fault.

For example, if the car in the back is found 80 percent at fault for a multi-vehicle accident and awarded $10,000, they will only receive $2,000. If the middle car is found 20 percent at fault and awarded $15,000, they will recover $12,000. The front vehicle avoided responsibility and will receive 100 percent of their awarded compensation.

Establishing the Order of the Impact

Each drivers’ statements will be considered when determining fault, but attorneys and their investigators, as well as insurance companies, will be turning to the following to find out the whole story.

  • Eyewitness accounts: These can include passengers in any of the cars and others on the road who witnessed the accident.
  • Police Reports: These reports are prepared to show the officers’ findings and if any of the drivers broke any traffic laws.
  • Damage to the Vehicles and Evidence: Includes any skid marks on the road, video footage from traffic cameras, and vehicle debris.

Get Help With Your Car Accident Claim

If you have been involved in a multi-vehicle crash, contact Goldblatt + Singer. Our St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer will ensure that you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us online today or call (314) 888-1000 to schedule a free consultation.

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