How is Fault Determined in a Multi-Car Accident?

November 23, 2020 | Car Accidents

Vehicle accidents can be scary and confusing, particularly when there are more than two vehicles involved. These cases can become complex, and determining fault in a multi-car accident involves gathering any available evidence and negotiating with multiple insurance carriers or legal teams.

Comparative Negligence Laws

Indiana operates under what is known as a “comparative negligence” the system for personal injury cases. This means that an injury victim can still recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the incident. In Indiana, the fault threshold is 51%, meaning that an injury victim is eligible to receive compensation if they are less than 51% at fault for the incident that caused their injury. If an injury victim is more than 51% at fault for the incident, they will not be able to recover any compensation at all.

However, the total amount of compensation an injury victim receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault for the incident.

Comparative Negligence in an Accident

In a multi-vehicle car accident, comparative negligence is going to be important. In some cases, a multi-car accident will only be caused by one driver, but it is just as likely that some or all of the drivers involved will be partially responsible for the incident due to their actions or inaction when the collision occurred.

Suppose Driver B rear-ends Driver A, who stops to allow a bicyclist to cross the road. Then, Driver C strikes Driver B because of the abrupt halt they came to after striking Driver A. Unfortunately, the impact caused by Driver C led to another chain-reaction that led to Driver A being pushed into the bicyclist crossing the road. In this scenario, there are multiple parties, and more than one of them will likely be at fault.

There will be an extensive investigation into the incident by both law enforcement as well as insurance investigators and legal teams. It may be determined that Driver B and Driver C both share fault for the incident, but they may not share fault equally.

What if There are Witnesses?

There may very well be witnesses to a multi-vehicle accident. This could be drivers and passengers in other vehicles or bystanders near the accident. Eyewitness statements will be just one part of the overall investigation.

If there are witnesses to a multi-car crash that you are involved in, you should get their names and contact information, as their statements may be important to help determine overall liability in the incident. Witnesses can help break through a “he said, she said” situation that could arise between the drivers involved in the incident.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you or somebody you love has been involved in a multi-car accident, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Even if you think that you are not at fault in any way for the incident, you can be sure that the other parties involved will try to place some or all of the blame on you. An Indianapolis accident attorney at the Fountain Injury Law Firm can use their resources and legal expertise to fully investigate the incident, obtain all evidence needed to prove liability, ensure you are medically cared for, and handle all negotiations for a fair settlement. If necessary, our attorneys will be ready to take the case to trial. You can contact us online or by calling (317) 917-7873.