Most people imagine two vehicles colliding when they think of a car crash. In many cases, however, motor vehicle accidents involve three or more cars. Multi-car crashes and pile-ups can be complicated accident cases to litigate. Determining fault for a multi-car accident in Utah often takes help from Layton car accident lawyers with experience investigating these complex types of crashes.
Utah: Who Is At Fault in a 3-Car Crash?
A car accident involving three drivers is generally more difficult to navigate than one involving two. In a two-car crash, one driver is typically at fault while the other is the victim. The first driver may have been texting and driving, for instance, when he or she collided into the back of the stopped second driver. In a three-vehicle crash, however, liability is not as easy to ascertain. Multiple drivers could share fault for the accident, or one driver could be liable for both other drivers’ damages.
Fault in a three-car crash depends on who caused the primary accident. In some cases, one of the drivers will be guilty of causing a chain reaction that involved the other two drivers. A chain reaction accident could point to the liability of just one driver – the very first driver to make contact with another vehicle. For example, texting Driver A might collide with stopped Driver B with such force that Driver B’s vehicle hits Driver C. In this case, Driver A would be liable for both Driver B and Driver C’s damages.
In other situations, however, a three-car crash could point to multiple at-fault parties. If Driver A was texting and driving through an intersection but Driver B ran a red light, for example, both drivers could share responsibility for anyone else caught in the middle of the collision, including Driver C. Utah is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning multiple drivers could share fault for a single-vehicle collision. As long as a driver is less than 50% at fault, that driver could recover partial compensation from the other at-fault party or parties.
Massive Car Pile-Up Fault
The more vehicles that are involved in a car accident, the more confusing liability can become. Each driver may have a different version of events. The stories may become convoluted and difficult to sort out, even for investigators. It often takes an experienced group of lawyers to examine a pile-up case in-depth to determine liability. Understanding fault for a pile-up in Utah may take a number of actions and efforts on behalf of an accident law firm.
- Interviewing eyewitnesses. Statements from people who witnessed the event could present new facts and clues as to who or what started the initial collision.
- Reading police reports. Police reports from the date of the accident can provide evidence or ideas as to fault and causation.
- Collecting video footage. Sometimes surveillance cameras, dash cams and GoPros catch pile-ups on tape. A lawyer can review this footage to help piece together the crash.
- Studying property damage and the crash scene. Examining vehicle damages and returning to the scene could help a lawyer understand how the pile-up happened.
- Reconstructing the pile-up. A law firm can hire specialists and crash experts to reconstruct the pile-up based on footage, witnesses and the evidence at hand.
The party or parties responsible for the pile-up will be those most at fault for causing the original collision. The initial crash may have resulted in many subsequent collisions, but the liable driver will be the one that caused the first collision. Identifying this party can be difficult, even for a lawyer with years of experience handling pile-up cases. Several sources of evidence, however, could help a lawyer piece together what happened. Hire a personal injury attorney after a multi-car crash in Utah to help you determine fault.