One of the first steps after a car accident is determining who is at fault. This allows insurance companies to decide who is eligible for a settlement and which company should be paying for the damages. While this is often relatively clear cut when it comes to one- or two-vehicle accidents, a chain reaction accident can be more difficult to assign blame. IN most cases, more than one person will be assigned a portion of the blame.
How It Occurs
There are many ways in which a chain reaction accident can occur, though there are two common types. The first typically happens when one vehicle hits another, pushing the car that was hit into another vehicle in front of it. While this is the most common way these accidents occur, there are other ways as well. For instance, after a two-car collision, the obstacle present in the roadway can cause other vehicles to crash into those that were already involved in the accident, especially if it takes place around a curve or other drivers are traveling too fast.
Who Is at Fault
In most situations, the driver who first hit another car will bear a majority of the responsibility for the accident, if not all of it, because none of the cars would be hit if the first collision didn’t take place. However, this isn’t always the case. If other drivers or public agencies can be proven to be at fault as well, this can alleviate some of the fault from the initial driver. Some of the other factors that can determine if another driver is also at fault can include:
- Following too closely
- Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone
- Failure to use brake lights or turn signals
- Improper maintenance of traffic signals
- Road obstacles that weren’t cleared
In some situations, no one is deemed at fault based on the current driving conditions, such as bad weather or other natural hazards, such as ice. Causing an accident because of the effects of a medical condition can also alleviate fault in an accident.
The key is proving the person is at fault to allow you to win your case and get the compensation to which you are entitled. There are several ways in which this can be done, but each of them must prove negligence on the part of the at-fault party. Some of the ways to prove fault include:
- Physical evidence, such as type of vehicle damage and debris and skid marks on the road
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Traffic violation records for the at-fault party
Establishing fault in an accident is a critical component of getting compensation after an accident. When it comes to chain reaction crashes, this can be even more difficult, but still possible with the right tools.