A two-car accident is usually very straight forward; police determine which car was at fault and insurance companies sort out who is going to pay.
In an accident involving more than two vehicles, there are many factors that will come into play in determining who is in the wrong. While one vehicle may have caused the accident, more than one may share in the fault.
There are several factors that police take into consideration when evaluating a multi-car crash:
- Distracted driving: were the drivers texting or talking on the phone? Were they posting to social media, or enjoying a meal while driving?
- Weather conditions: Rain, snow, fog and ice can make driving more dangerous, reducing visibility and making it more difficult to control your car.
- Speed: were any of the drivers going over the speed limit?
- Drowsy driving: driving when very sleepy and tired can be more dangerous than drunk driving.
- Drugs and alcohol: were any of the drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
- Failure to yield: failing to stop at a light, stop sign or to yield right-of-way will be considered when deciding who is at fault.
There are other factors that may determine that more than one vehicle is at fault in a car crash.
Following too closely may cause driver number two to be at fault, and if driver number three was also following too closely, they could also be held responsible.
If one of the drivers is drunk, talking on the phone or otherwise distracted, they may also be at fault.
Vehicle malfunction, such as airbags that don’t deploy, may mean that the manufacturer shares some fault.
In a hit-and-run accident other drivers may indeed be innocent. Facts gathered at the scene will help officers determine fault.
If you’re involved in a multi-car accident, it is a good idea to consult an attorney who can sort through all of the factors involved in such a crash.