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Why Liability Can be Confusing in a Multi-Vehicle Accident

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jul 18, 2019 in Auto Accidents

Cars at nightIf you were involved in an accident with multiple vehicles, it may be difficult to determine who caused the accident. Below, we put together some important information you should know about these types of accidents and how fault is determined by insurance companies and juries.

If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings for further assistance. We can investigate your situation, determine liability and pursue compensation for your claim.

Common Causes of Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Multi-vehicle accidents involve multiple vehicles that collide with each other and may have multiple points of impact. They may cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Common causes of multi-vehicle accidents include:

  • Speeding – Speeding can cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle or not be able to make sudden stops when necessary. This increases the likelihood that the driver will rear-end another vehicle, either initially causing the accident or adding to the pileup. 
  • Impaired driving – Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol have slower reaction times and may be more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors. Impairment also affects a driver’s reasoning and alertness at the wheel, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in a collision.
  • Drowsy driving – When a driver is tired, he or she risks falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into another vehicle.
  • Distracted driving – Drivers who are not paying attention to the road can cause an accident. Distracted driving includes texting and driving as well as using a phone or other mobile devices in other ways. It also includes eating, drinking, adjusting dials in a vehicle or talking to passengers in the vehicle.
  • Tailgating – When drivers follow too closely, they may not have adequate time to stop in case a vehicle in front of them suddenly brakes or is involved in a collision. This can cause vehicles to pile up, adding to the trauma of an accident.
  • Weather conditions – Many multi-vehicle accidents occur in rain, snow, fog or other inclement weather conditions that cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle or hinder the driver from seeing in front of them.

How Fault is Determined

Determining fault is the most complicated aspect of these types of cases because the actions of multiple drivers may be in question. There may be a person who initially caused the accident by either tailgating, speeding or distracted driving. The insurance companies involved in the case will conduct a thorough investigation and assign fault to each negligent driver. If the case cannot be resolved through settlement, a trial may ensue, in which case the jury would have to weigh all the evidence to determine how much fault each party bears for the crash.

Comparative Fault in Texas

If the victim of a car accident acts in a negligent way and contributes to the accident, Texas’ modified comparative fault rule applies. Under this rule, if the victim is 51 percent or more at fault of the accident, he or she cannot sue the other parties who contributed to the accident. However, if his or her degree of fault is calculated at less than 51 percent, he or she can pursue a lawsuit against the other negligent parties.

Under the comparative fault structure, the accident victim’s recovery is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For example, if the victim is found to be 20 percent at fault and suffered damages of $100,000, the maximum that he or she could receive would be $80,000.

Contact a Knowledgeable Lawyer for Help with Your Case Today

At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, our experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyers are highly experienced and handle all types of car accident cases, including multi-vehicle accidents. Our skilled lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation and determine who should be held accountable for the damages that you have sustained. We do not charge for our services unless you win favorable compensation.

Contact us today to set up your free consultation.