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How accident liability is determined in multi-vehicle collisions

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Multi-vehicle collisions often involve complex scenarios, making the determination of liability challenging.

In Texas, the process for assigning liability in these accidents follows specific guidelines and legal principles. Understanding these can help individuals more effectively navigate the aftermath of such incidents.

Gathering evidence

The first step in determining liability involves gathering evidence. Police officers typically respond to the scene and compile a report that includes details about the accident, witness statements and sometimes their assessment of fault. Photographs, traffic camera footage and physical evidence from the vehicles also help piece together what happened.

Eyewitness testimony

Eyewitnesses provide valuable accounts of the collision. Their statements can clarify the sequence of events leading up to the crash. In multi-vehicle accidents, these accounts can help identify which driver or drivers acted negligently.

Traffic laws and regulations

Law enforcement officers and insurance companies examine whether any drivers violated traffic laws. Common infractions include speeding, running red lights and failing to yield. Any breach of these laws can indicate negligence and contribute to determining liability.

Comparative negligence

Texas follows a comparative negligence system, specifically the modified comparative fault rule. Under this rule, a driver can recover damages only if they are less than 51% at fault for the accident. If a driver is found to be 51% or more at fault, they cannot recover any damages. This rule requires a thorough analysis of each party’s actions to assign a percentage of fault.

Chain reaction accidents

Multi-vehicle collisions often involve chain reactions, where one crash leads to another. Determining liability in these cases requires identifying the initial impact and subsequent collisions. The driver who caused the first crash may bear significant responsibility, but each driver’s actions in response to the initial crash are also scrutinized.

Insurance company investigations

Insurance companies conduct investigations to assess liability. They review all available evidence and may hire accident reconstruction experts. These experts recreate the accident scene to better understand how it occurred and who may be at fault.

Legal assistance

Due to the complexity of multi-vehicle accidents, individuals involved may seek legal assistance. Attorneys can help gather evidence, interpret traffic laws and negotiate with insurance companies. They can also represent clients in court if liability disputes arise.

Determining liability in multi-vehicle collisions in Texas involves a comprehensive examination of what happened. The comparative negligence rule further complicates this process, making it necessary for those involved to understand their rights.