Many Dallas car accidents involve more than one or two vehicles. In many cases, a first car strikes a second car that, in turn, strikes a third car. There are other ways a multiple-vehicle crash can occur as well. Several cars may collide into each other when they try to pass a stalled vehicle or one in a previous accident. Vehicles may crash into each other to avoid a cargo spill. An initial accident may be a rear-end collision, a head-on crash, a sideswipe, or any other number of causes.
Some of the reasons multiple vehicle accidents are so complex include:
- There often multiple accident victims
- Multiple defendants may be liable
- The victims and the defendants may live in different states
- There are likely to be different versions of how the crashes occurred
One of the most common types of multi-car accidents is a rear-end collision. An example is when Car A is stopped at a red light. The driver of Car B, who is distracted while looking at his cellphone, rear-ends Car A. The force of the crash can force Car A to move forward, striking Car C. While these collisions are happening, Car D may be speeding and strike Car B.
Another scenario is when Car A is behind Car B. Car A decides to pass on the left side. The driver of Car A does not see Car C coming from the opposite direction. Car C strikes Car A who, in turn, spins into Car B.
Who is at fault for a multi-vehicle accident in Dallas?
In many cases, the driver who caused the initial accident is responsible for all the collisions. In some cases, the driver who caused the initial crash is partially responsible – but other drivers may also be responsible.
For example, in the rear-end collision discussed above, the driver of Car B is responsible for the injuries to the occupants of Car A (the initial stopped driver) and Car C (the vehicle struck by Car A – but only after Car B struck Car A). The driver of Car D is responsible (partially or fully) for the injuries to the driver of Car C. Any passengers in Car C may have claims against both the driver of Car B and the driver of Car D.
In the passing example, the driver who tried to pass (the driver of Car A) is likely responsible for all other injuries.
Drivers who cause multi-car accidents are often liable because they:
- Were speeding
- Drove while intoxicated
- Drove while distracted
- Violated a Texas traffic law
Texas uses the doctrine of comparative negligence. If you were partially at fault for the multi-car accident, then you can still seek damages if your percentage of liability is 50% or less. The amount of your recovery is reduced by your amount of fault. For example, if your case is worth $300,000 and you were one-third at fault for the accident, your case is worth $200,000.
If you were more than 50% liable for the damages, you cannot recover damages.
How do victims of multi-car accidents prove fault?
Normally, when there is a multi-car accident, the police will be called to the accident. Texas police will first assist anyone who is injured, and arrange to keep the site safe so that no other car accidents occur. The officer will ask for the insurance and registration information of each driver, and then conduct an examination of the accident by reviewing the accident scene, the damage to the cars, and other physical factors. The officer will also ask the drivers and any witnesses what happened.
The police will complete an accident report. The report is not a determination of negligence. Negligence is determined either through a settlement with the insurance adjusters or a verdict by a jury.
At Slack Davis Sanger, our skilled Dallas car accident lawyers employ many steps to help hold the responsible parties accountable:
- We conduct an investigation. We will conduct our own investigation, typically with the assistance of private investigators skilled in examining car accidents. We’ll work to determine who may be responsible for our client’s injuries. The responsible parties are often some or all of the other drivers and the owners of the vehicles. Other defendants such as the maker of a defective car part may also be liable.
- We review the police report. We examine the report and, if we think it will help your case, speak with the police officer who conducted the police investigation. We also conduct extensive discovery. Discovery includes asking all the parties and any witnesses to the lawsuit oral questions about how the accident occurred. We’ll also submit written questions to all the defendants.
- We work with traffic reconstruction experts. In many cases, we can determine fault without consulting with reconstruction experts. When three or more cars are involved in an accident, however, our lawyers are more likely to ask a traffic reconstruction firm to review how they believe the accident occurred.
- We understand your pain. We work with our clients to understand just how serious their injuries are, what medical treatments will be needed for the rest of their life, how much income they are losing due to their injuries, and how much pain and suffering they are enduring.
Our lawyers may also work with attorneys for the other accident victims by discussing their theories and understanding on how the accident may have occurred.
How is a Dallas multi-car accident claim settled or litigated?
There are different possibilities for settling or trying your claim. A few possibilities include:
- One driver is fully responsible for all the other injuries or the death of anyone. The insurance company for that driver pays every victim’s damages, up to the policy limits.
- Multiple drivers are responsible for your injuries. This part is complicated. Each driver may be fully responsible for your injuries or the drivers may be responsible in combination for your injuries.
- You may be comparatively responsible for your injuries. In this event, the amount of your recovery is reduced by the amount of your responsibility.
- The driver(s) that caused your injuries may be responsible for your injuries – but may not have enough insurance (or any insurance) to pay your damages. In this case, we demand compensation for your uninsured/underinsured motor vehicle carrier.
At Slack Davis Sanger, our Dallas car accident lawyers handle the tough cases – including multi-car accident cases. We’ll guide you step-by-step through the litigation process. Once your injuries have stabilized and it is clear how the accident occurred, we’ll work to obtain the best settlement or the strongest verdict possible. To speak with our skilled Dallas multi-car accident lawyers, please call 800.455.8686 or fill out our contact form. Also serving clients in Austin, Fort Worth, and throughout Texas.
The firm handles cases involving catastrophic personal injuries and deaths. Our work spans three decades of handling airplane and helicopter crashes, truck and car accidents, oilfield and construction accidents, and other devastating accidents. We try lawsuits throughout the country in both federal and state courts and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. To date, we have handled or tried cases in 47 states, read more about our attorneys and firm.