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Determining Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident

Categorized as Auto Accidents

Some car accidents are pretty cut-and-dry when it comes to determining fault. Other times it comes down to one driver’s word against another. When a crash involves three or more drivers, assigning fault can become complicated.

Even if one driver started the chain-reaction that caused an accident, they may not bear all the liability. Missouri uses the doctrine of comparative negligence, where each driver may be assigned a different percentage of blame in an accident.

Say, for example, three cars were involved in an accident at an intersection: A, B and C.

Car A was stopped at a red light, with B also stopped behind her.

The driver of car C was not paying attention and rear-ended B, pushing B into A. All three cars were damaged.

After the investigation, it was determined that B was too close to A, thus they share some of the blame.

Car A would be assigned 0 percent, car B might be assigned 20 percent and car C would be assigned 80 percent.

The monetary damages a plaintiff may recover in an injury lawsuit will be adjusted to the proportion of a defendant’s degree of fault. In the above example, the driver of car A may file a claim against B and C, while the driver of B would only file a claim against C.

Dividing Fault

The exact percentage of fault assigned isn’t purely scientific and is somewhat arbitrary. But it does allow for a party to recover some damages, even if they may have partially contributed to an accident.

To ensure your claim is handled properly, make sure to review the steps to take after a car accident. Gather as much information as possible, speak to eyewitnesses, and make sure to call the police and file a report.

The assigning of fault will be based on the details of the collision. The more vehicles involved in an accident, the bigger the cost to the insurance companies. They will likely hire special investigators for multi-carpileups.

When to Contact an Attorney

If you were seriously injured in a multi-car crash, you will want to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. The medical costs alone can be very high, not to mention potential lost wages or long-term disability which can burden you for years. Insurance companies are businesses and will do what they can to try to deny your claim.

If you believe your auto accident injury was due to another driver’s negligence, partially or wholly, contact the law offices of Peterson & Associates, P.C.™ for a free consultation. We offer a contingency fee, meaning you don’t pay unless we recover compensation for you.