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How is Negligence Determined in a Multi-Car Crash?

Posted on July 18, 2022 in

Determining who caused a crash can be challenging when there are two vehicles involved. When there are three or more vehicles involved in a collision, figuring out exactly what happened and who is responsible becomes even more complex. Here, we want to discuss how negligence is determined after a multi-car collision in Colorado.

Who is Liable for a Multi-Crash Incident?

Right after a vehicle collision occurs, liability is typically difficult to determine by the scene alone. This is particularly true for incidents that involve more than two vehicles. A multi-car crash collision is going to require a more extensive investigation, and this can become complex.

Yes, there are times when fault is relatively easy to pinpoint after a multi-crash collision. For example, if one driver barrels through a stop sign because they are intoxicated by alcohol, and impacts 2, 3, or more vehicles, then it is very likely that that one driver will be held responsible for the entire incident.

However, multi-car crashes are not usually as straightforward as one driver clearly being at fault. In some cases, there may be more than one driver at fault for an incident. For example, if one driver pulls out in front of a second driver and causes a collision between those two vehicles, but then a third driver slams into the rear of the second driver’s vehicle, there may be multiple fault scenarios here. The first driver would likely be at fault for pulling out in front of the second driver, but the third driver may also share liability if they failed to leave enough distance between themselves and the second vehicle.

Investigations are Crucial

After a multi-car collision occurs, there will likely be an extensive investigation into the incident. There are various types of evidence that law enforcement officials, insurance carriers, and legal teams may use to help determine exactly what happened. This evidence can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Statements from drivers and passengers at the scene
  • Photographs taken at the same
  • Video surveillance footage
  • Police reports
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • An examination of vehicle damage

After obtaining all of the evidence, insurance carriers for each driver involved will typically go back and forth (argue) about who caused the incident or by what percentage each party is at fault.

Understanding Comparative Negligence

When determining liability after a multi-car collision, it is very likely that the Colorado modified comparative negligence system will come up. Under this system, it is possible to apportion fault in multiple different directions.

In this state, individuals who are more than 50% responsible for causing an incident will not be able to recover compensation for their losses. Any individual less than 50% responsible for an incident will be able to recover compensation for their injuries and property damage, but they will receive reduced compensation depending on their percentage of fault.

When a multi-car collision occurs, and multiple parties are found to be at fault, who receives compensation and how much they receive will depend on a thorough analysis and investigation of the incident and then an apportionment of fault under the modified comparative negligence system.

Call us today to speak with a Denver car accident attorney.