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Who’s Liable In A Multi-Car Accident?

multi car accident

Following a car accident, it can extremely difficult to determine who is at fault, especially when there are three or more vehicles involved. A vehicle may only hit another vehicle because they themselves were impacted from behind, which commonly occurs in multi-car pile-ups.

At the end of the day, who is liable for a crash will be determined on a case-by-case basis, either by the insurance companies or by a court. Although, there are some basic rules lawyers and the law follow to determine this. If you have been a victim of a multi-car accident make sure to contact your local car accident attorney as soon as you can.


In most car accidents like rear-end collision’s, sideswipes and fender benders, where only two vehicles are involved, it is common knowledge that the car who hit first or from behind that is considered to be at fault, no matter how abruptly the car in front stopped. In the event of a multi-car accident there are many different scenarios that can happen. Below are four examples of cars that caused the accident and is at fault following. No matter the case, always consult with a lawyer for the best insight into your rights.

Here are a few example scenarios, each involving three or more vehicles;

Scenario 1:

Car A drives through a red light and crashes into car B, C, and D who were all driving through the intersection on a green light. Car A was at-fault and liable for all damages because they didn’t follow the law and drove through a light that was meant to stop traffic from crossing the intersection.

Scenario B:

Car A comes stops quickly without notice due to a fast change in the normal flow of traffic ahead. Car B slams into the back of Car A due to the sudden stop. Car C fails to stop and hits car B and car D then runs into car C. It’s a four-car accident where each car from car B onwards failed to stop themselves in time. In this case, cars B, C and D are each responsible for the cars they rear-ended. All cars are liable for rear-ending each other. The driver should have been paying attention, the only car not at fault is Car A because Car A did not hit anyone, they only stopped themselves in time to prevent a collision.

Scenario C:

Car A stops suddenly due to a quick change in traffic. Two cars behind Car A also slam on the brakes to stop in time before colliding into the car in front of them. A fourth car (Car D) wasn’t playing as good of attention and slams in Car C causing Car C to slam into Car B, which then causes Car B to collide into Car A. The only car at fault in this scenario is Car D due to the fact he/she caused all the cars to move forward after stopping.

At The End Of The Day Who Is Liable For A Multi-Car Accident?

The party who is at fault or was negligent for the car accident is the party who is liable.

If you are deemed to be ‘at fault’ for an accident you will be liable to pay property damage to anyone whose vehicle or personal property you damaged and personal injury compensation to anyone injured by your actions.

In many cases insurance, may or may not be available to cover your liability to pay these amounts. It is variable to your policy and how much it will cover in damages. Contact a car accident lawyer for more information in regards to liability following an accident. Make sure to fully understand your policy when choosing one.

Who Ends Up Paying?

Your insurance may help pay for other parties injuries and damages if you were at fault, but that is not always the case.

All registered vehicles in California have some type of car insurance which covers the owner/driver of a vehicle for personal injury claims of other parties. Property damage insurance is optional. Third-party or full comprehensive property insurance will cover damage to other people’s vehicles. As the policyholder, you may still have to pay an excess on the policy before they will pay out your full liability.

Once you notify your insurance company that will usually try to attend to the damages according to your policy. If you do not wish to claim using insurance than you are welcome to pay out of pocket, but doing so can pose many problems if you were to try and claim legal compensation. Always contact Krasney Law following a car accident. We offer free consultations and will only take your case if we know we can win it. For any questions or concerns, please call (909) 380-7200 for any questions. We have experienced car accident lawyers that are ready to help.