Who is at fault in a multi-car pile up?

Every year in the United States there are over 5-million crashes involving motor vehicles. Accidents happen for a number of reasons including distracted drivers and individuals failing to follow the rules of the road. In larger cities, the fast paced gridlock of traffic often causes multi-car pile-ups where three or more drivers are involved in a single accident. In a two car accident, it may be easier to determine who is at fault. However this is often not the case when there are more drivers involved.

Status Quo

The driver at the end of an accident is most often the one to blame. In many cases, this individual crashing into the rear of another car causes that car to propel forward and hit the car in front of them. The chain reaction can continue leading to a multiple vehicle accident. However, depending on the personal injury protection laws of a state, the blame can be divided among multiple drivers. This means that if you are the car in the middle, you may still be to blame.

What to Do?

Anytime you are involved in a major motor vehicle accident it is important to contact a legal representative and your insurance company. There are numerous circumstances where an accident might not be the fault of the last individual. For example, if several vehicles spin out of control on black ice, then assessing the blame becomes more complicated.

Avoiding Multi-car Pile-ups

The majority of multi car accidents are caused by drivers who are failing to follow basic rules of driving including keeping a safe distance between the vehicle in front of them. Maintaining an adequate distance of at least two car lengths (four during inclement weather) should be part of your everyday driving habits.

Keep your driving distraction free, as well. Your attention should be on the road and on the vehicles around you. Attentive drivers are significantly less likely to get into an accident because they are actively monitoring their environment and can respond to changes quickly. Newer vehicles have started to make it easier for drivers to focus on the road by including controls for things like music and the mobile phone directly on the steering wheel.

Additionally, keep in mind that hands-free phone usage while driving is the law in California. Roughly 40% of accidents today are caused by drivers who are operating a cellular device when they should be focused on operating their vehicle. In any event, seek legal counsel of SM Law Group if you are involved in an accident.

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