Chain Reaction Car Accident — Who's at Fault in California

October 26, 2021
Barrios Machado

Chain Reaction Car Accident — Who's at Fault in CaliforniaNobody wants to be involved in a car accident, but they are, unfortunately, a common occurrence across the country. Under California’s traditional tort-based law, the person deemed at fault has to pay for the damages caused by the accident. 

In most cases, the accident would only involve two parties, and liability only has to be determined between the two of them. However, for multi-vehicle or chain-reaction crashes, determining who’s at fault can be challenging. 

It’s highly recommended for those involved in multi-car accidents to work with a capable California car accident lawyer like Barrios & Machado who can help them investigate and establish multiple car accident fault. Their lawyer can work with accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and experienced investigators to determine who is liable.

What is a chain reaction car accident?

“Chain reaction” is the term used to refer to how accidents involving multiple vehicles usually occur. Most of the time, these crashes are initially caused by the collision of two vehicles. The impact of the crash would then cause these two vehicles to veer into the other vehicles around them. 

Typical causes of chain reaction vehicular accidents include:

  • Tailgating: This happens when two or more vehicles follow each other too closely. If the vehicle in front suddenly stops, the one behind them could read-end the former.
  • Speeding: When a car is going too fast, its driver can’t react quickly enough to avoid an accident.
  • Failing to Use a Turn Signal: When a driver fails to use their turn signal before making a turn or changing lanes, the other motorists around them may fail to respond appropriately and cause a chain-reaction accident.
  • Driving Under the Influence: A driver impaired by alcohol or drugs can’t operate their car safely. They may drive too fast, have slow reaction times, or follow other vehicles too closely.
  • Distracted Driving: Texting, talking on the phone, eating, or drinking while driving are distractions that commonly cause chain-reaction crashes.

Who is at fault in a car pileup?

Multi-car pileups that involve several vehicles and drivers can be complicated to litigate. Determining fault can also be challenging, as each person involved may have a different version of what happened. Fault in a three-way car accident is determined by examining one or more of the following:

  • Police report
  • Physical evidence at the accident scene
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Statements from the drivers and the passengers involved in the accident
  • Photos from the crash scene
  • Video surveillance at or near the accident site
  • Information from crash reconstruction experts

Typically, when an accident involves three or more vehicles, liability is borne by the driver who’s responsible for the initial collision. However, it’s also possible for two or more drivers to be held liable, especially if their behavior or negligence significantly contributed to the collision and resulting damage. The state’s joint and several liability laws may hold each of them liable for only their share of fault for the crash.

Contact a California Car Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve been involved in a chain reaction crash, get in touch with an experienced California car accident attorney today. They can help you carefully investigate the events leading up to the accident, including working with experts to pinpoint which driver is responsible for the first collision. They’ll help you gather evidence, protect your rights and interests, and make sure that you receive the compensation that you’re entitled to.

Our team at Barrios Machado can help. Call us at (714) 515-9696 to schedule a free and confidential consultation or use our online contact form.

Have Questions? Get in Touch.

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