Skip to main content

Liability in Multiple-Person Accidents

Posted by attorney Edward Lake

For legal help in confusing times, Long Island car accident attorneys may be beneficial. Although a lot of car accidents involve only one or two vehicles, there are certain cases where multiple vehicles can be involved. Such cases may present cloudier issues regarding who is to blame for the crash.

Sometimes the negligence of one driver can set off a domino effect of sorts and cause a pile-up on the freeway, which unfortunately can result in vehicle damage, serious injuries, and fatalities. Although the driver that originally caused the accident may carry most of the fault, other drivers may be partially at fault as well.


Negligence is a key factor that applies to car accidents. Something or somebody had to have caused the accident. In many states, comparative negligence rules apply, meaning multiple parties can be assigned a percentage of fault based on how much they contributed to the car accident. Each state has varied laws that determine how negligence factors into a car accident claim.

Negligence can include many aspects. Speeding, or not obeying traffic laws and signals, can be considered negligent. Driving recklessly, or while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, can also cause an accident. Distractions and not paying attention to the roadways can cause an accident, as well. Even a simple error in driving, such as making a wrong move, can cause a multiple-car accident.

Order of Cars

Unless a witness was present, it can be hard to place fault in a multiple-vehicle accident. Insurance companies and courts will look at the order of cars to determine car accident liability. The accident scene will be assessed, and the order and damage to the vehicles will paint a picture of how the accident occurred. The order of cars shows who hit whom and which driver caused the injuries sustained by the victims. Long Island car accident attorneys can discuss how the order of cars may actually impact the claim.

Other Ways to Determine Car Accident Liability

The courts will take other types of evidence into account when assigning car accident liability. After an accident, police will be called to the scene, where they will talk with the victims and interview any witnesses. Police will also assess the scene and note any injuries and vehicle damage. If there were any traffic or surveillance cameras at the accident scene, that evidence will be used to determine car accident liability, as well.

There is also a law in place in many states that makes the driver who rear-ends another vehicle liable for causing the collision. This is because the driver in the rear is obligated to drive safely enough to avoid hitting someone from behind. This law may help determine liability in multiple-vehicle accidents.

Contacting a Lawyer

Determining car accident liability when multiple vehicles are involved is very tricky. However, it is necessary in order to determine which insurance to bill and who will receive a certain amount of compensation.

If you are injured in a car accident caused by multiple vehicles, consult with a lawyer from Gacovino, Lake & Associates. Long Island car accident attorneys can review your case and help determine car accident liability. Call them at 1-800-246-4878 for a free consultation.

Author of this guide:

Was this guide helpful?

Avvo personal injury email series

Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.

Recommended articles about Personal injury

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer