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Who is at Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Crash?

By Butler Prather LLP on May 24, 2021

The last thing any person expects when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle is that they will be involved in an accident. However, vehicle accidents are not uncommon on Georgia roadways. In most situations, we will find that the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying compensation to any party who sustained injuries or property damage as a result of their negligent actions. However, when a multi-vehicle crash occurs, determining fault can be difficult. Here, we want to discuss how liability is determined for a multi-vehicle collision as well as how Georgia handles modified comparative negligence when it comes to compensation for these incidents.

Determining Fault When There are Multiple Vehicles

Determining liability when there are only two vehicles involved can be challenging enough. When there are three or more vehicles involved in a multi-car crash, the process of determining who caused the incident becomes even more challenging. However, the fundamentals of determining liability do not change even though the process is more complex. There are various types of evidence that can be gathered in the immediate aftermath of the crash and in the days and weeks that follow that can be used to determine liability.

There will be multiple parties conducting investigations after an accident occurs, including law enforcement officials, insurance carriers, and legal teams. They will all be relying on the same information to draw their conclusions about what happened. This can include:

  • Photographs taken at the scene of the crash
  • An accident report filled out by the police
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Statements from drivers and passengers
  • Any video surveillance from nearby cameras
  • Vehicle “black box” data
  • Mobile device data
  • …and more

If the evidence gathered by all of these parties does not point to clear liability, it may even be necessary to work with an accident reconstruction expert who can provide testimony to the insurance carriers or a personal injury jury. Further complicating the matter is the fact that there may be more than one party at fault for the incident.

Will Comparative Negligence Matter Here?

Georgia operates under a modified comparative negligence system. This means that even if a person is partially responsible for causing a vehicle accident, they can still recover compensation, but there are limits. In Georgia, a person will not be able to recover compensation if they are 50% or more at fault for a vehicle collision. Any person 49% or less at fault for a crash can still recover compensation, though the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

So, if multiple parties are involved in a vehicle accident, it could very well be the case that there is shared fault. Insurance carriers or a personal injury jury will have to determine how much compensation each party should receive based on how much they contributed to the accident.

An Attorney Needs to Be Involved

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a multi-vehicle crash, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled Atlanta car accident lawyer can get involved and begin an investigation immediately. An attorney will handle all communication with other parties involved, including conversations with aggressive insurance carriers. The goal of an attorney will be to prove the liability of the other parties involved in order to maximize the amount of compensation their client receives.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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