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Who is At-Fault in a Multi-Car Accident?

May 11, 2020 By John Torgenson

When car accidents happen, they can be an inconvenient source of pain and frustration. Even minor fender benders may have you contending with uncooperative parties and insurance companies who are acting in their own interests. Getting in a car accident involving more than two vehicles can be significantly more stressful, as simple questions about fault and liability are quickly complicated by other parties.

What Are Multi-Car Accidents?

Also known as multi-vehicle collisions, multi-car accidents are those that involve more than two vehicles. Multi-vehicle collisions tend to happen more on highways as a result of high speeds within close vicinity of many vehicles. Even simply clipping a vehicle on the highway may result in the vehicle veering off and striking another adjacent car.

What is a Chain Reaction Accident?

A chain reaction accident is one of the most common scenarios of multi-car accidents. It happens when one accident between two vehicles causes multiple other vehicles to collide with those two vehicles.

One common version of this occurs when a vehicle rear-ends another car, and the subsequent force from the impact causes the struck vehicle to hit the car in front of them too. Depending on the force of the first collision, a chain reaction accident can affect more than three vehicles as well.

Another common scenario that results in chain reaction accident is if a vehicle suddenly stops on the road for an obstacle or some other reason. Multiple vehicles behind this car may not be able to brake in time, resulting in subsequent rear-end collisions.

Who is Responsible in a Multi-Car Accident?

Because of the many circumstances and factors in a multi-car accident, figuring out who is ultimately responsible can be difficult. For example, in a chain reaction accident, the driver who made the initial first impact may be considered responsible – but other drivers may also share liability for the events of the accident as well.

Who is responsible in a multi-car accident

Determining Fault in Multi-Car Accidents

Determining who is liable in multi-vehicle collisions primarily involves gathering as much evidence and data from the scene of the accident. This includes the police report, along with all eyewitness and driver accounts of the accident.

It is important to note that, even if you are found to be partially fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation due to Arizona’s negligence rules.

What Are Arizona’s Rules for Negligence?

In car accidents, Arizona follows pure comparative negligence rules for fault. This means that, even if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you are still entitled to compensation – minus your percentage of fault. For example, if you are in a multi-car accident and you are found to be 30% at fault, you are still entitled to 70% of the total damages awarded.

Factors to Consider When Determining Fault

Even with Arizona’s rules of negligence and all the information on hand, it can be difficult to determine fault. Calculating the specific liabilities of all involved parties is based on a number of factors, such as:

  • Were any of the drivers speeding at the time?
  • Did all of the drivers have functioning brake lights or other indicators?
  • Were any of the drivers following too closely, as dictated by state-recommended driver safety laws?
  • Were any of the drivers engaged in distracting behaviors while driving, such as texting?
  • Was there proper signage on the road to indicate a sudden stop or reduction in speed?
  • Was there any debris or other obstacles on the road that caused a vehicle to suddenly stop?

How An Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, it is highly recommended to seek an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney. Because there are multiple parties involved in your claim, it can be difficult to determine where compensation may come from. Additionally, if there is a designation on the percentage of fault for each party, you may not know if the final resolution is a fair assessment of the events that occurred.

An attorney who has had previous experience in all types of car accident claims can navigate the claims process with ease, negotiating and corresponding with all relevant insurance companies in an attempt to secure the compensation you need. Additionally, an attorney with prior experience can help you determine whether a final designation of fault is fair or if insurance companies are taking advantage of your situation to minimize their payouts.

A Lawyer is Always Recommended for Multi-Car Accidents

If you find yourself in a multi-vehicle collision it is important that you employ aggressive personal injury lawyers. Call Torgenson Law today at (602) 726-0747 and let us make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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John Torgenson

After high school, John attended the University of Utah, graduating in 2001. John then attended his dream school, Notre Dame Law School, where he graduated, with honors, in 2004. John is licensed to fight in court for real people in the State of Arizona, the United States Federal District Court of Arizona, and the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before establishing what is now Torgenson Law, John practiced in the litigation group at Fennemore Craig, the oldest law firm in Arizona, and one of the largest firms in the Southwest. Having practiced at Fennemore Craig in both the defense and plaintiff’s practice areas gives John a complete perspective of the litigation process, and valuable insight into how to efficiently and effectively advance his clients’ interests. His unique and balanced background enhances his credibility with defense lawyers, insurers, and defendants as well as with judges and arbitrators.