If a Crash Makes You Hit Another Car, Are You at Fault?

Car accidents are stressful and overwhelming, and they can cause severe injuries to those involved. Chain-reaction accidents can be even more deadly, though, and it’s especially complicated to determine fault. During this process, someone will investigate the accident and the circumstances leading up to it. This will likely involve multiple insurance companies and attorneys. To protect yourself, consider hiring a car accident attorney.

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What Are Chain-Reaction Accidents?

A chain-reaction accident involves multiple cars striking each other. These accidents may end up in a pileup accident as well. In most accidents of this type, Driver A, who caused the initial accident, collides with Driver B, the first person hit, and Driver B is shoved into Driver C. Drivers A and B will usually sustain the most severe injuries.

For example, Driver B is behind Driver C, both of whom are stopped at a light. Driver A rear-ends Driver B, who then rear-ends Driver C. This could be because Driver B is too close to Driver C, or because Driver A was going fast enough to push Driver B into Driver C.

Woman and Man angry after a car crash with a rear ending

Who’s at Fault for a Chain-Reaction Crash?

Chain-reaction accidents typically occur from the force of the initial collision. The driver who caused the first crash is usually held liable for the chain-reaction or pileup. This means that the initial driver would be responsible for the entire series of collisions. However, other factors may put another driver partially or fully at fault, such as the following:

  • In the accident, the middle or lead driver failed to use brake lights, had no brake lights, or failed to signal, forcing another driver to rear-end them. In this situation, the middle or lead driver may be found liable.
  • The vehicle behind you was following too closely, resulting in a rear-end collision. Even if you caused the initial accident, the driver behind you might be found partially liable since they were tailgating you.
  • One driver was excessively speeding, making them unable to stop in time to avoid further pileup.

These are only a few examples of when someone other than the initial driver is at fault for a chain-reaction accident. An experienced car accident attorney can investigate the case and help determine who was at fault for your part of the accident.

How to Establish Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident

No matter how many cars were involved in an accident, police reports and investigations always play a vital role in determining fault in a car accident. Evidence that might help to assess responsibility may include:

  • Witness statement
  • Text message records
  • Traffic violations and citations

The best way to establish liability for a multi-car crash is to hire a team of investigators. Crash reconstructionists or forensic experts may visit the scene or interview other victims to gather information about the accident. You can work with a law firm for resources to help you get to who caused the accident.

person taking a picture of a rear end car accident with their phone
person taking a picture of a rear end car accident with their phone

How to Establish Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident

No matter how many cars were involved in an accident, police reports and investigations always play a vital role in determining fault in a car accident. Evidence that might help to assess responsibility may include:

  • Witness statement
  • Text message records
  • Traffic violations and citations

The best way to establish liability for a multi-car crash is to hire a team of investigators. Crash reconstructionists or forensic experts may visit the scene or interview other victims to gather information about the accident. You can work with a law firm for resources to help you get to who caused the accident.

Male driver taking a picture of his car damage after being in a car accident for his insurance claim, with a witness in the background

What Happens If Multiple Drivers Are at Fault for the Accident?

If multiple cars are involved, a court, an insurance company, or another party might establish comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a partial legal defense that reduces damages a party may receive based on how liable they were for the accident.

For example, Driver A strikes Driver B, who then strikes Driver C. If Driver B is too close to Driver C, a court may find them 20% liable for the accident. This means they may be able to receive up to 80% of their damages.

Get in Touch with a Car Accident Attorney You Can Trust

If you’ve been involved in a chain-reaction or pileup accident in New York City, you should reach out to an attorney immediately. Even if you were not the driver who caused the initial accident, you might still be liable. Conversely, if you did cause the initial accident, you may not be fully responsible for all events that followed. The skilled legal team at The Barnes Firm will launch a full investigation into your accident. They’ll be able to determine which driver, or drivers, were at fault for the accident.

With over 100 years of combined experience, we have the expertise you need to get the compensation you deserve following an accident. We’ll stick by you during the entire claims process and answer all your legal questions. Complete our contact form or call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000