Determining Liability in Multiple-Car Collisions

Determining liability in multiple-car collisions can be a challenging process. Investigators must consider the eyewitness testimony of several people, as well as the projected path of each vehicle involved. Such investigations are important because they help to determine fault, which affects the ability of injured victims to seek compensation. Although it may seem obvious who caused the crash and who is liable, insurance companies are notorious for twisting the facts to try to shift blame away from their clients to reduce the payouts they have to make. Assigning and determining liability correctly in a multi-car crash is highly difficult, but it’s vital to ensuring that you as an injured victim receive the payments you need to try to recover your life.

All victims deserve the right to know who is responsible for causing the accident so that they can be awarded any damages that may be available. If you are seeking compensation for injuries and damages, a trusted car accident lawyer can provide advice and guidance. Should the police come to what you believe is an incorrect conclusion about who is liable, attorneys can help by investigating the case and finding facts that show that the car accident police report is wrong.

Why It’s Important to Prove Fault in a Collision Involving Multiple Cars

It’s common practice for an insurance company to vigorously defend its insured motorist in an attempt to avoid paying full damages and compensation to a victim. The insurer may deny fault for its client and may try to shift blame to you for the multi-car crash.

If the other driver’s insurer is trying to blame you, you may need to produce facts that show why this is untrue. You can do this on your own, or you can hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience with defending victims from the unfair practices of insurers.

Not only does proving fault give the victim the opportunity to be made whole and to help pay for damages and medical expenses, but it also serves to determine at what percentage the driver is at fault under Minnesota statute 604.01 and under Wisconsin statute 895.045. Some of these calculations can prove legally challenging and complex. Visiting with an attorney can help you better understand the amount of compensation you could seek based on the determination of fault and any comparative negligence.

How to Determine Fault in Different Types of Multi-Car Collisions

Multiple-car accidents are highly complex. It’s challenging to determine which driver or drivers are at fault. Factors that help determine fault in the collision include:

  • Were any drivers or victims making a left-hand turn at the time of the accident?
  • If road conditions were not optimal, did any driver fail to make accommodations?
  • Were the road conditions the direct result of a government agency or private contractor failing to clear the construction areas?
  • Were any local or state traffic laws violated during or just prior to the accident?
  • How many vehicles were involved in the multiple-car collision?
  • Were there any street light cameras or nearby businesses that would have been able to capture the event on video?
  • Where were the vehicles located after they came to rest?
  • Were any of the drivers operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Did a police officer issue any type of citation following the multiple-car collision?
  • What was the extent of the damages to all involved vehicles?
  • What was the information documented within police reports?
  • What was the information documented within statements from witnesses?

In accidents involving multiple vehicles, a substantial amount of evidence and data must be collected in order to make a determination of fault and to assess what you as a victim can receive under the law. Simple fender-benders can usually be handled strictly through the appropriate insurance providers. The type of accident when there are more than two vehicles involved plays a role in the investigation, including the following kinds of crashes.

Rear-End Multi-Car Collisions

Many times, multiple-vehicle accidents involve several rear-end collisions. This chain reaction of accidents involving several automobiles is often the fault of the rearmost vehicle that started the collision. However, this is not always the case, and it is crucial that an investigation of the multiple-car collision occurs to ensure accuracy in the determination of fault. This type of independent investigation is necessary so that there is not inaccurate liability determined for a driver who is not at fault.

T-Bone Multi-Car Collisions

A T-bone collision occurs when one vehicle hits another one in the side. T-bone crashes often occur in busy intersections and leave both cars careening out of control. They then could slide or fly into other vehicles near the intersection, resulting in a highly complex, multiple-car crash that requires skilled investigators to sort out.

Right-of-Way Multi-Car Collisions

At an intersection, drivers must know the right-of-way rules that determine which driver can enter first. When one driver violates these rules, it can lead to a chain-reaction type of crash where multiple vehicles have involvement. Determining how the right-of-way crash started is a significant challenge for investigators.

Multi-Car Collisions with Commercial Trucks

Because of their size, commercial trucks deliver a significant amount of force when they end up in a car accident. When the truck strikes a smaller sedan, it may not lose much momentum, bouncing off and hitting other cars along the way before coming to a stop. Just because the truck hit several cars, it doesn’t mean that the truck driver is at fault, though. Investigators have to determine whether another driver forced the trucker to swerve or to hit the first car, setting off the multi-car crash.

Interstate Multi-Car Collisions

During times of poor weather, such as ice, snow, heavy rain, or fog, drivers on the interstate may not see hazards in time to stop and avoid an accident. This can set off a chain-reaction crash, as subsequent drivers then can’t see the first crash. Investigators have a difficult job sorting out a crash with dozens of vehicles.

Types of Compensation Available in Multiple-Car Collisions

In multiple-car collisions, there typically are several victims who suffer both physically and financially. While every multiple-car collision will have its own set of facts and circumstances, some of the types of compensation available to victims may include the following:

  • Reimbursement of medical bills and medical costs related to injuries suffered from the multiple-car collision
  • Future medical bills and costs expected as a result of injuries suffered
  • Reimbursement for the repair or replacement of any property damage, including the vehicle and the contents inside
  • Reimbursement for any lost wages, including actual salary or wages lost, missed bonuses or promotional opportunities, used sick leave or vacation time, and more
  • Compensation for future loss of wages if a victim remains unable to return to work due to injuries
  • Compensation for pain and suffering resulting from injuries sustained in the multi-car collision
  • Compensation for non-economic damages, including loss of enjoyment of life or of an inability to perform daily tasks
  • Costs for medical assistance or daily workers in the home to help with either medical or personal care needs
  • Punitive damages if the cause of the multiple-car collision was the result of a driver’s reckless disregard for human life.

How Tyroler Leonard Injury Law Can Help You After Your Multiple-Car Collision

If you have injuries after a multiple-car collision, you likely have worrisome medical bills and potential pain and suffering. Take the time to visit with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys in order to ensure that your legal rights remain protected and that you have the ability to receive the compensation you deserve. Learn how our legal team at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can help you today. Call us at 651-259-1113.

Attorney Isaac Tyroler

Attorney Isaac Tyroler has been a strong advocate for injured people his entire legal career. He has a passion for righting wrongs, and he deeply cares about representing injured clients who may feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to navigate the legal system. He is compassionate toward clients and aggressive with insurance companies and defendants. He is on the elected Board of Governors of the Minnesota Association of Justice (MAJ), the top personal injury lawyers’ group in Minnesota. And is currently the chair of MAJ’s legislative committee. [ Attorney Bio ]