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Who is at Fault in a Multi-Car Accident?

When two or more cars are involved in a collision, determining who is at fault can be more complicated than when a crash involves only two vehicles. In the immediate aftermath of a multi-car accident, it is vital to stay calm and assess the situation so you can make sure that everyone is safe and that liability is properly established.

If you were involved in a multi-car accident in New York, our lawyers at Leitner Varughese PLLC can help. Our New York motor vehicle accident lawyers will investigate the circumstances of your collision and help you determine who is at fault when multiple vehicles are involved.

Establishing Liability

The first step to understanding who is at fault in a multi-car accident is to establish liability through investigation. All parties involved will usually be interviewed by law enforcement officers and/or insurance adjusters, who will then piece together all the evidence collected from the scene. This includes examining property damage, skid marks on the road, witness accounts, police reports, and any photos or videos taken during or immediately after the crash.

In many cases, one driver may end up bearing most of the responsibility for the accident. For example, if one driver was speeding or driving recklessly and caused a chain reaction that resulted in multiple collisions, they may face additional charges on top of any other citations issued by law enforcement. In some cases, two or more drivers could be found partially responsible for an accident due to their combined negligence—a legal concept known as contributory negligence.

Note: In New York, if multiple individuals are found at fault for an accident, their recoverable damages are reduced in proportion to their degree of fault pursuant to the state's pure comparative negligence doctrine (NY CPLR § 1411).

How to Determine Fault Through Negligence?

Multi-vehicle accidents can involve complex dynamics between various parties, which can make it difficult for law enforcement officers and insurance adjusters to determine who should bear responsibility for the incident. That is why it is often necessary to examine the circumstances surrounding the crash to determine who was negligent.

Negligence refers to an individual's failure to use reasonable care while operating their vehicle—such as disobeying traffic laws like running red lights or stop signs—which can result in serious injury or damage to others. If one party fails to exercise reasonable care and another person is injured as a result of this lack of carelessness (known as causation), then that party may be held legally responsible for any damages caused by their negligence (known as damages).

To simplify this concept: If someone negligently causes an accident involving multiple vehicles due to their careless driving behavior, they may bear full legal responsibility for all resulting damages regardless of whether other drivers were also negligent in some way.

Contact Leitner Varughese PLLC for Legal Help

Understanding how liability works in a multi-car accident is critical if you ever find yourself involved in one of these incidents. However, since each case is unique, you may need the assistance of a skilled lawyer to ensure that fault is properly established and liabilities are accurately assigned. Our detail-oriented lawyers at Leitner Varughese PLLC can provide sound legal guidance in your case and help you pursue the compensation to which you are entitled. Call 212-671-1110 to talk about your case.