Liability And Damages In A Pile-Up Auto Accident

13 November 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog


A pile-up accident is likely to cause extensive damages and injuries due to the number of vehicles involved, which might mean multiple impacts for the same car. Unfortunately, handling a pile-up accident claim is relatively complicated due to, among other things, liability issues. Below are some of the things you should know about pile-up accidents.

First Car Liable

In many cases, a pile-up accident involves a chain reaction that starts with a single car. The driver who starts the chain reaction is usually liable for the accident. For example, a truck can crash into the rear of a car and push the car into other cars. In this case, the truck driver is likely liable for the crash since it was their responsibility to keep a safe distance from the car in the front.

Potential Shared Liability

Although the car that instigated the chain reaction is likely to be liable for the accident, they might not be the only liable car. There are cases where multiple cars share liability for a pile-up accident. This is because, in many of these accidents, you find that more than one driver was doing something wrong, and that is why they ended up in the pile-up accident. For example, a middle driver who was driving too close to the car in front is likely to be pushed into that car. In such a case, this middle driver will share the liability for the damages with the rear car.

If shared liability is established, compensation depends on the state laws and the degree of contribution of each party to the crash. In states that use contributory negligence laws, no one should expect compensation if they are at least 51% liable for the crash. Otherwise, the compensation will be proportional to the percentage contribution to the crash.

Blame Game

If you are the victim of a pile-up accident, the issue of liability can drag your auto accident claim for a long time. Each party will be pointing fingers at others in an attempt to escape liability, reduce liability, or maximize their own compensation. Complications can also arise if multiple victims are trying to collect damages from a single defendant. You may need the services of an experienced attorney, and perhaps other professionals such an expert witness, to succeed with your claim.

If you are involved in a pile-up accident, your first actions should be similar to what you would do in any other accident. This means not admitting liability, preserving evidence, not fleeing the scene, and seeking medical advice. After that, you can consult an auto accident lawyer to help you pursue your damages.

For more information about liability, contact a car accident lawyer