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Determining who is at fault in a multi-car pile-up can feel daunting, especially if you’re an innocent victim. At Frederick Law Firm, we understand how complex liability investigations can be in a multi-car accident. Who is at fault in these collisions depends on the individual circumstances. That is why these collisions require a thorough investigation to help figure out who is responsible for your injuries and damages. 

Identifying all liable parties is crucial for your personal injury claim and can help prevent similar accidents in the future. If you need assistance investigating who is at fault in a pile-up in California to pursue a claim for damages, contact Frederick Law Firm. 

What Are Pile-Up Collisions?

Multi-car collisions, or pile-ups, typically involve three or more vehicles and often occur on highways. They can result from multiple factors, including poor weather conditions, distracted driving, or sudden traffic stops. Highways like California State Route 99 are notorious for episodes of thick fog, which can result in massive pile-ups. 

Because many cars are often involved, investigating liability can be convoluted. For this reason, hiring an experienced California car accident lawyer is essential. You need someone on your side who can help launch an independent investigation to evaluate a multi-car accident and who is at fault. 

Examining the Chain Reaction of Events 

With multi-car collisions, the ‘chain reaction’ concept is central to the investigation. A chain reaction starts when one vehicle collides with another, setting off a series of subsequent collisions. Carefully analyzing the sequence of events can shed light on responsibility. The driver who caused the initial collision is often considered at fault for the entire chain reaction. However, it’s also possible that other drivers may bear some responsibility because they drove recklessly or did not follow traffic regulations. 

Gathering Evidence to Determine Who Is at Fault in a Multi-Car Rear-End Accident 

Collecting evidence is central to identifying all responsible parties in a multi-car collision. Important evidence can include, but is not limited to: 

  • Scene photos from the accident depicting damage, skid marks, and debris; 
  • Available dashcam footage from vehicles;
  • A Police report and the officer’s observations;
  • Witness statements; and 
  • Vehicle damage reports. 

In these multi-vehicle collisions, it’s common for an attorney to hire an accident reconstructionist. These experts can review the evidence and vehicle damage to assess how the accident likely occurred. They will prepare a report of their findings and testify on your behalf in court if necessary. 

Understanding Comparative Fault in California

California follows the comparative fault system when it comes to negligence. That means that if you are partially at fault for the accident, you might still receive money for your injuries. However, the court will reduce your compensation by your percentage of fault. For example, if a jury finds you 30% at fault, your compensation is reduced by 30%. Consider an accident where your damages are $100,000. You would only receive $70,000. 

When multiple parties are liable, the insurance adjusters try to agree on the percentage of fault for each insured driver. If three drivers share liability, your personal injury settlement might be partially paid by each of these insurance companies. 

Importance of Hiring a California Car Accident Lawyer

Identifying who’s at fault in a pile-up requires skill and experience. Insurance companies want to assign as much fault as possible to another driver to minimize their exposure. That’s why you need an experienced California car accident lawyer to represent your interests.

At Frederick Law Firm, we can help you understand your legal rights, gather and analyze evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Rest assured, we’ll be there for you every step of the way. 

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Please contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help.

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