Although many people assume that car accidents involve two drivers in two vehicles, this is not always the case. Some accidents involve multiple vehicles triggered by one chain reaction event, leading to multiple personal injuries and thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage. If you are involved in a multi-car accident, you may wonder who is liable for your losses. In these situations, the driver who is primarily responsible for the collision is likely at fault—although multiple parties may be liable.
The Importance of Proving Liability
Georgia is a fault-based car accident state, meaning that drivers are financially responsible for the damages of their victims in any collisions they cause. If you are involved in a car accident, you can suffer serious losses like medical expenses, physical pain, emotional distress, lost wages, and property damage.
You can secure compensation for these damages by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the responsible driver. To initiate your claim, however, you will need to first identify the cause of your accident and the at-fault driver.
Establishing Fault in Chain Reaction Accidents
In accidents involving three or more vehicles, fault usually lies with the driver who caused the initial collision. For example, say that you are waiting at a stop sign when the driver behind you suddenly collides into your vehicle. However, the driver collided with your car after another driver rammed into the back of his or her vehicle and propelled him or her forward. If the third driver had not hit the second driver, the accident would not have occurred. As a result, the third driver is likely liability for the collision.
There are some situations, however, where multiple drivers may be responsible for the collision. For example, say that another driver rear-ends your vehicle after a third driver collides into the back of his or her car. Before this collision occurred, a fourth driver had recklessly sideswiped the third driver, causing him or her to lose control of the vehicle and collide into the second motorist. In this case, the fourth driver is primarily responsible for the collision and is likely the liable party.
Shared Fault in Multi-Car Accidents
When it comes to multi-car accidents, liability is not always straightforward. In fact, many multi-car collisions have more than one at-fault party. If multiple drivers are responsible for your collision, you can name all of them in your lawsuit. Each at-fault party will be responsible for paying damages according to the percentage of liability that they hold.
For example, say you seek $100,000 and the court determines one driver to hold 40% of the fault and the other to hold 60% of the fault. One defendant will pay $40,000 and the other defendant will pay $60,000. If you are filing an insurance claim, liability can be split between multiple companies and at-fault drivers will be liable for the percentage of fault they share.
If you plan on filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after a multi-car accident, you need an attorney on your side. A car accident lawyer in Augusta can conduct an in-depth investigation into your accident and enlist the help of expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, who can evaluate the collision and provide testimony in your case. As soon as possible following your collision, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and legal options.