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Who Is at Fault in a Chain Reaction Car Accident?

Posted in Car Accidents on February 18, 2022

While some car accidents only consist of two motor vehicles, others involve three, four or more cars – leading to more complicated liability disputes. A crash involving more than two vehicles is referred to as a chain reaction car accident if it takes the form of a series of multiple rear-end collisions. The process of recovering financial compensation for a chain reaction car accident in Texas can be complex and require an extensive investigation.

What Is a Chain Reaction Car Accident?

A chain reaction car accident can be depicted as Driver C hitting Driver B, then Driver B hitting Driver A. It can involve more than three vehicles, as well. A chain reaction crash is a series of rear-end impacts, meaning the front of one vehicle strikes the back of the vehicle in front of it, and so on. Chain reaction accidents occur when the driver that causes the initial impact (Driver C in the example above) does so with enough force to propel the next vehicle (Driver B) into the car in front of it (Driver A).

How to Identify the At-Fault Party in a Chain Reaction Car Accident

A chain reaction car accident can cause serious injuries, such as whiplash and broken bones, to multiple drivers and passengers in more than one vehicle. Since Texas is a fault-based car insurance state, the driver most at fault for the collision is who must pay for all related damages – meaning all victims’ medical bills, property damage repairs and other expenses. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify the at-fault party in a chain reaction car accident.
In general, the driver of the first vehicle to make contact in a chain reaction car accident is liable for all resultant collisions. In the example above, this would be Driver C – the first driver to rear-end someone else and set off the chain of subsequent collisions. Driver C would be responsible for all other drivers’ losses in the crash in this scenario, even though his or her vehicle never touched Driver A. This is because without Driver C, Driver B never would have hit Driver A, making Driver C responsible for the entire chain of events.
Determining fault for a chain reaction crash typically requires an in-depth investigation into who or what caused the initial impact. An insurance company may send investigators back to the scene of the crash or to examine the physical damage done to all vehicles involved in the wreck to reconstruct the crash. An investigator may also interview all involved drivers, passengers and eyewitnesses for more information. The goal of an investigation is to find the source of the chain reaction – the person behind the initial collision.

Can Two or More Parties Share Fault?

It is possible for a single driver to bear financial responsibility for an entire chain reaction car accident in Texas. This might be the case if a driver was texting and driving or fell asleep behind the wheel, for example, and crashed into another driver, setting off a chain reaction of multiple other rear-end collisions. However, it is also possible for multiple drivers to share liability for a single-car accident in Texas.
Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning that multiple parties (including crash victims) can share fault for a single accident. If a crash victim who is seeking compensation for a car accident is found to be partially liable for a chain reaction crash, such as for following another vehicle too closely or not paying enough attention, he or she could still be eligible for partial compensation from a defendant. Liability for a crash can be divided among parties based on each person’s percentage of fault. This will become the percentage of the total compensatory award each defendant must pay injured victims.
If you need assistance determining fault for a recent chain reaction car accident in Dallas, Texas, contact the car accident lawyers at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. to request a free case review. We are highly experienced car accident lawyers who can take on complicated cases.