Who is at fault in a three-car accident?
Determining fault after a car accident is a big part of fighting for compensation. As long as insurance companies refuse to agree on liability, victims will struggle to get the compensation they deserve after a crash. Crashes involving more than two cars make this even more complicated—the more parties you bring into a claim, the more complex liability becomes.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t wait too long to find out if you’re entitled to compensation.
Each Driver’s Duty of Care
Liability is partially determined by each driver’s level of negligence. Remember, every driver on the road owes a duty of care to everyone else on the road. They are expected to take appropriate and reasonable steps to prevent accidents or mitigate the damage caused by an accident. If any or all of the involved parties display some level of negligence, it’s likely that they will be found liable for the crash.
Fault May Be Shared
When thinking about any car crash, especially a three-car collision, remember that liability isn’t all-or-nothing. It’s entirely possible for every involved party to share some of the blame. You may still be able to recover compensation in this situation, but your compensation may be reduced proportionate to the level of liability you have.
Consider, for example, a rear-end crash involving three cars. The first car is at the intersection, waiting for the light to turn green. The second car doesn’t notice that the light is red until it’s too late, and even though they brake, they hit the other car and cause minor damage. At this point, the light has turned green. A third car approaches the intersection, not even checking for cars in front of them because the light is green. They slam into the second car, causing significant damage to both vehicles.
In this case, the second car obviously has some liability. They did hit the front car, even if they didn’t cause much damage. The third car would also have substantial liability, since they had a duty to ensure that the intersection was clear before proceeding. The first driver may be able to collect compensation from both drivers’ insurance companies.
How Insurance Companies Determine Liability
Throughout your personal injury claim, your lawyer will likely be in frequent communication with the liable drivers’ insurance companies. The insurance companies involved in the collision will look at a range of evidence to determine who is at fault. They may look at pictures of the crash scene, diagrams of the intersection and the signage in the nearby area, and dash cam footage provided by drivers. From there, they will get a general idea of how the accident occurred and who contributed to it.
Remember, though, that insurance adjusters do make mistakes. Just because they determine that one party is liable does not mean that they are right. If an insurance adjuster insists that you are liable or that there is no one you can recover compensation from, you should still explore your options with an attorney.
What to Do After a Three-Car Crash
After any car collision, it’s important to report it to the police, seek medical attention, and talk to an attorney. If someone else caused the crash, you may be entitled to compensation. That doesn’t mean that the insurance company will make it easy for you. The other drivers’ insurance companies may try to shift blame, downplay the severity of the accident, or get you to admit fault. They do this to reduce the value of your claim and protect their profit margins.
An attorney will protect you from these unethical tactics and handle all communication with the insurance company. This prevents you from unintentionally making statements that damage your claim. The sooner you connect with a lawyer, the sooner they can begin building a case for you.