Any type of car accident is scary. Being hit from various angles and sandwiched in between two or more other vehicles is especially terrifying and dangerous. Who is ultimately responsible for this pile-up? Texas law holds that the negligent driver is primarily responsible, but identifying the negligent driver is not always clear-cut. That’s why it’s crucial to hire an experienced automobile accident attorney as soon as possible when a multi-vehicle accident occurs.
Chain Reaction Collisions
Multi-vehicle accidents are often referred to as “chain reaction” collisions. The more vehicles and people involved, the higher the likelihood of fatalities and serious injuries. Emergency responders may have difficulty reaching those most in need and getting them to the hospital promptly. Vehicles in multi-car pileups are more likely to leak gas, creating the possibility of fire or explosion.
Fault in Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Texas is not a no-fault state, so any driver in a car accident may assume some responsibility in a pile-up, even if they were not the primary offender. In most cases, the primary offender in a chain reaction collision is the driver of the rear vehicle. Typically, that driver plows into the car ahead of him, causing that car to ram into the vehicle in front of it. That does not mean the primary offender is 100 percent responsible for the collision, although it can turn out that way.
The driver of the first vehicle is seldom held responsible, but there are exceptions. For example, it’s possible the accident occurred because that first vehicle stopped suddenly to avoid hitting a person or another vehicle. That sudden stop caused you – as the driver of the second car – to rear-end the first car, and the car behind you crashed into your automobile. If this is the case, you may be held liable for damage to the first car, although not for the third car.
Sometimes, a vehicle malfunction is the cause of the crash, not the driver per se. If a driver’s brakes fail, for example, it is possible the vehicle manufacturer is held liable. The bottom line – determining who is at fault depends upon a thorough investigation of the crash.
Car Accident Investigation
A multi-vehicle collision attorney uses state-of-the-art technology and top experts to determine who is responsible for such a crash. If the pile-up occurred at a site where street traffic is videoed, the relevant footage is thoroughly scrutinized. Eyewitnesses are located and questioned, including drivers and their passengers. The attorney carefully reviews the police report, and checks to see if driver statements have changed since the accident. The original statements may all point fingers at “the other guy” – that’s not unusual. The more evidence your attorney can find showing you were not responsible, the better for your claim.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a multi-car pileup or any motor vehicle accident, contact the Dashner Law Firm for a free consultation.