Factors Determining Fault Determination In A Car Pileup
Fault determination in a pileup accident is relatively difficult compared to fault determination in a two-car accident. If you have been injured in a pileup, it's good to know the fault determination guidelines so that you can gauge who you can sue for your damages or whether you are likely to be blamed in any way. Here are the three major factors that determine fault determination in pileups:
The Position of the Cars
To a large extent, the position of the cars determines who is majorly at fault for the crash. In most cases, the rear car shoulders most of the liability since each car is expected to maintain a safe distance from other road users. Therefore, in a four-car pileup accident, the car at the rear of the pileup is assumed to have caused it.
Even if the rear driver isn't held liable for the entire accident, they may have to shoulder most of the blame. The second car from the rear also becomes liable for the damages and injuries in front of it, with the liability reducing from car to car, meaning the front car is likely to be blameless.
The Damaged Parts of the Cars
A pileup accident doesn't have to involve cars in a straight line traveling in the same direction. It can start when oncoming cars crash into each other or in a sideswipe scenario. Accident investigators must determine how the cars were moving to determine fault. One way of determining the movement of the vehicles prior to the crash is to examine the damaged parts of the cars. For example, when the driver doors of two cars are their most damaged parts, it can be deduced that the cars were in adjacent lanes. In such a case, the car that drifted out of its lane will be deemed to be at fault.
Broken Traffic laws
The applicable traffic laws will also be determined and those who are found to have broken them may be held liable for the damages. For example, the driver who was driving over the speed limit, the one who was driving over the center lane, the one who was driving while intoxicated – those are some of the drivers likely to be blamed for the crash. Again, rule breakers may not shoulder all the blame, but they will at least share some of the liability.
The above are some of the guidelines determining liability in a pileup, but the list isn't exhaustive. In case you are involved in a pileup, your best course of action is to sit down with a car accident lawyer, like Cok Kinzler PLLP, to help you explore your options.