The most complex issue in cases involving multiple vehicles is identifying the negligent or at-fault driver. These cases tend to involve high dollar amounts, and special investigators may be assigned by the insurance companies to untangle what can become a logistical mess.
The question, therefore, in determining liability, will depend on two legal concepts called duty of care and proximate cause.
- Duty Of Care: All drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and behave in a reasonable manner while behind the wheel. If a driver is found to violate this responsibility, he or she may be found liable for the accident.
- Proximate Cause: Once issues regarding duty of care have been assessed, a clear connection between that breach and the accident in question needs to be established. Simply put: it must be proven that a driver’s behavior was the proximate cause of the accident.
Another important legal consideration in multi-car collisions is the issue of comparative vs. contributory negligence. The state of California abides by the rules of comparative negligence, which means that a claimant involved in an accident may get compensation against the at-fault driver even if the claimant is partly responsible.