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Who Can Be at Fault in a Multi-Car Accident?

Who Can Be at Fault in a Multi-Car Accident?

Shapiro Law Team April 10, 2023 Car Accidents,Personal injury

Navigating the legal aftermath of car accidents can be overwhelming, especially when multiple parties are involved. When you trust Shapiro Law Team with your case, you can rest easy knowing you’ll receive Superior Representation every step of the way. Keep reading to learn more about what multi-car accidents are and how to determine fault.

What Is a Multi-Car Accident?

A multi-car accident is a car accident that involves two or more parties. It can involve drivers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, or semi-trucks. Rear-end accidents are the most common type of multi-car crash. These are also called chain reaction accidents or multi-car accident pile-ups, as the vehicles pile up one after another. Multi-car accidents include the following collision types:

  • Rear-end accidents
  • Head-on collisions
  • Lane changes
  • Intersection crashes

What Causes Multi-Car Accidents?

Various hazardous conditions are responsible for multi-car accidents in New Mexico. Below is a list of the most common ones:

  • Inclement weather
  • Curvy roads
  • Poor road lighting
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence

Who Is at Fault?

Determining fault in a multiple-vehicle crash can be complicated. It’s not always as cut and dry as people would like it to be and must be determined on a case-by-case basis. When multiple drivers are involved in an accident, it’s difficult to determine who initially caused it. Determining fault depends largely on the situation and the evidence provided. That’s why witness statements are essential to the process.

Since determining fault requires adequate evidence, gather as many witness statements as you can, noting their names and phone numbers. Witnesses are impartial observers who can provide clarity to the situation. Drivers who get into multi-car accidents are quick to place blame on the other parties involved, although they may be partially at fault. Corroborating witness statements can be your best case against another driver.

With that said, the first car to collide with another vehicle is typically at fault—at least partially. The question you must answer is, “Who acted negligently first?” Negligence occurs when a driver doesn’t meet their “duty of care” to drive safely and not jeopardize other drivers.

Can Multiple Parties Be at Fault?

While the driver who initially caused the multi-car accident is typically at fault, other drivers can also be at fault. Cases that involve multiple at-fault parties are called shared-fault car accidents. Discovering what really happened in a chain reaction accident is key to accurately determining fault.

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How to Determine Car Accident Liability

Liability is established based on negligence. The negligent party is often liable (i.e. responsible) for the accident due to either distraction or recklessness. Other potentially liable parties include the following:

  • An employer
  • A parts or vehicle manufacturer
  • A government entity

You can’t seek financial compensation until liability is established. Once liability is established, you can collect damage—or financial compensation—by filing a civil lawsuit against the negligent party.

Since you can’t always rely on an insurance provider to advocate on your behalf when determining liability, we recommend consulting an experienced attorney to aid you throughout the process. This legal professional will assess your case to help determine whether you can seek financial compensation. They will also help recreate the timeline of the accident to assign liability. When two or more parties are at fault for a car accident, the state’s laws help insurance adjusters assign liability.

How Is Compensation Distributed?

Although the negligent driver of a shared-fault car accident typically pays for damages incurred, New Mexico is one of 12 states that has a pure comparative negligence law. This principle of fault states that “if the jury finds the plaintiff at fault, they’re not barred from recovery. Instead, the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by the proportionate degree of their fault.”

In other words, if both parties are found to be at fault for an accident, the injured party can still receive compensation. The compensation is simply reduced relative to how much they’re at fault for causing the crash. This law is key for New Mexico drivers because they can file a claim even if they’re mostly at fault for the accident.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Once you begin the claims process after a multi-car crash, an insurance adjuster will contact you to gather details about the accident and estimate the claims payment. Cooperate with this individual and share the facts without providing unnecessary details that could implicate fault.

While dealing with insurance companies and adjusters can be stressful, hiring an experienced car accident attorney in New Mexico can simplify the process. If you’re looking for a car crash attorney in the Albuquerque area, Shapiro Law Team is the name you can trust to represent you.

Why You Should Choose Shapiro Law Team After Getting in a Car Accident in New Mexico

Not sure what to do after getting in a multi-car accident? Contact a Shapiro Law Team representative at our New Mexico location for assistance.

We work to achieve maximum financial compensation for our clients to cover the cost of both personal and property damages. We even deal with your insurance company and insurance adjuster, so you don’t have to. That’s what Superior Representation looks like. Click the button below to book your free consultation.

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