What Happens if More Than One Party Was at Fault for an Accident?

white-and-red-cars-accident-guy-taking-picsWhen more than two vehicles are involved, car accident claims can become much more complicated. How is fault assigned with this type of accident? Do you need to file multiple claims to pursue compensation?

If you were injured in a car accident and multiple drivers could be to blame, consider hiring an experienced attorney. You can request a free, no-obligation consultation with our car accident lawyers to learn what legal options may be available to help you recover compensation.

California’s Comparative Negligence System

The state of California follows a pure comparative negligence system, which allows a percentage of fault to be assigned to each party found liable for an accident. Each party is financially responsible for a percentage of your damages based on its percentage of fault. For example, if a party is found to be 30 percent at fault, they must pay 30 percent of damages you have suffered.

California’s pure comparative negligence system also explains what happens when a victim is partially at fault. Proportional damages may be pursued if another driver is at all at fault. This means that, technically, you could pursue compensation if another party is even one percent responsible.  

Some states prevent victims from recovering compensation if they are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident that caused their damages. In California, it is possible to hold a higher percentage of fault than the other parties involved and still be eligible to recover compensation.

However, under this pure comparative negligence system, your compensation award is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you file a claim for $50,000 in damages and are found to be 60 percent at fault, you would only receive $20,000, which is 60 percent less than the full amount.

Determining Fault in Rear-End Crashes

Rear-end crashes often involve multiple vehicles. The first vehicle that was struck is pushed into the vehicle in front, which is pushed into another vehicle and so on. These accidents can involve numerous vehicles, and typically, the driver of the rear vehicle that caused the first collision is found to be at fault.

However, that is not always the case. Some of the other drivers in the chain may be at fault if they were tailgating or not paying attention and could have stopped before crashing into the vehicle in front.

Factors That Need to be Considered

Your attorney and the insurance companies may consider numerous factors when determining fault for a multi-vehicle accident, such as:

  • If any drivers were in violation of traffic laws
  • If any drivers received tickets for their actions
  • Where the accident took place
  • Road conditions when the accident occurred
  • Driver speeds and if they were appropriate for road conditions
  • The actions of drivers when the accident happened, for example making a turn
  • Location of the vehicles after the accident occurred
  • Where each vehicle sustained damage
  • The extent of each vehicle’s damage
  • Information included in an accident report
  • Black box or vehicle data recorder information
  • Witness statements

Contact a Licensed Attorney for Legal Help

The Sacramento car accident lawyers of the Arnold Law Firm help victims recover maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. We charge no upfront fees and you only pay us if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.

Call (916) 777-7777 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form.