A multi-vehicle collision is exactly as the name suggests, a road traffic accident involving many vehicles, which only increases the risk of serious injury and significant property loss. They typically take place on freeways, and they are one of the deadliest forms of traffic collisions. Higher speeds on freeways make it that much more difficult for drivers to avoid and react. Ironically, they can be made worse by drivers trying to avoid a collision in the first place. Some causes of multi-vehicle collisions include weather conditions, texting while driving, reckless driving, and driving while drowsy.
As aforementioned, 61% of car occupant deaths in 2018 occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes. Frontal impacts accounted for 15 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles, whereas side impacts accounted for 5 deaths per million. Multiple-vehicle rear impacts accounted for 2 deaths per million.
The most complex issue in cases involving multiple vehicles is identifying the negligent or at-fault driver. Liability will depend on two legal concepts called duty of care and proximate cause. 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.
Multi-car accidents often result in multiple claims and, therefore, usually become severely contested, drawn out affairs, since there’s no real standardized method for assigning liability in these types of collisions. Therefore, you will probably need to seek out an expert legal team to help you navigate this complex process.