How to Determine Liability in Car Accidents Involving More Than Two Cars

Car accidents occur in many scenarios, and determining fault when two cars collide tends to be straightforward. However, not all car accidents involve only two parties, and one collision may cause a chain reaction, especially in high traffic situations. When multiple cars are involved, determining liability becomes more difficult.

Tennessee law makes those responsible for the accident the liable party. In some cases, this is simple. In other situations, the fault may rest with multiple drivers. Knowing who is liable in an accident is necessary when filing a claim for damages to the car and injuries to the occupants.

Possible Scenarios

Multi-car accidents are often the result of chain reactions. Car A may not brake in time and rear-end Car B in front of it. Due to the impact, Car B moves forward and strikes Car C. Depending on the speed, this type of accident can involve several cars.

Because Car A was the initial point of collision, its driver is at fault in this scenario. The other vehicles’ collisions were the result of the first impact. Any damages sustained by Cars B and C and their passengers are eligible for compensation by Driver A.

While this situation is relatively straightforward, not all multi-car pileups are the same. Car A may suddenly slow down. Car B, who cannot tell because Car A’s brake lights are not working, doesn’t slow down and rear ends Car A. Behind them, Car C is driving distracted and bumps into Car D. Because of the impact, Car D bumps into Car B, who is still recovering from the collision with Car A.

In this situation, there are several accidents and several parties at fault. After a review of the facts, a court would determine liability based on those responsible for the collisions and divide compensation based on extent of injuries. Because Driver A did not repair their brake lights and Driver C was driving distracted, they would be the main responsible parties.

Common Causes of Multi-Car Pileups

Like two-party car crashes, there are several causes of multi-car pileups:

  • Adverse weather
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Police chases
  • Drowsy drivers
  • Other accidents

Most causes of multi-car pileups are due to human error, but not always. Sometimes inclement weather can create unsafe road conditions, or a police chase may cause vehicles to swerve out of the way. Courts handle accident cases differently, depending on the circumstances involved.

Avoiding Multi-Car Pileups

Since being the at-fault party in a multi-car pileup can come with drastic financial consequences, drivers should take precautions to avoid causing accidents:

  • Do not tailgate – Staying too close to another vehicle takes away time to slow down if the other driver suddenly brakes.
  • Drive calmly – Many traffic accidents are the result of road rage, so drivers should remain calm.
  • Avoid distracted driving – Talking or texting on a cellphone makes it difficult to focus on the road.
  • Watch for traffic jams – Roads with a high density of vehicles are prime ground for pileups, so it’s best to plan a route that has less traffic whenever possible.

Safe driving doesn’t benefit just one driver, but all drivers on the road. Taking steps to avoid accidents lowers the risk of both property and personal damages.

For those involved in a multi-car accident, it is best to consult a  qualified injury lawyer in Nashville. An attorney can help determine liability and assist injured individuals in fighting for their rightful compensation. Experienced legal help makes it easier to prove the exact cause of the accident and focus on recovering from injuries.