Not all car accidents involve only two vehicles. Three-car accidents and pileup accidents are also common, especially in densely populated areas.
If you’re part of a three-car accident, two questions will immediately come to mind:
- Who was responsible for causing the accident?
- Who will pay your damages?
Determining fault in a three-car accident is challenging, as every driver will have their own version of events. It’s best to protect yourself by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.
How Do You Prove Fault?
Proving fault in a three-car accident starts with determining which driver violated the law or breached a duty of care to other motorists. Common examples include:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Texting and driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
- Following too closely
If a driver makes one or more of these mistakes and causes an accident — regardless of how many vehicles are involved — they are responsible.
In a two-vehicle accident, it’s often clear as to which driver violated the law. For example, if you’re stopped at a red light and your vehicle is struck from behind, the other driver caused the accident.
But in a three-way car accident, liability is more difficult to pinpoint. Here are some of the things you need to do:
- Determine where the accident started; what was the first event in the chain?
- Determine what happened after the first event
- Follow the chain reaction from beginning to end
Sticking with the example above, consider an accident in which your vehicle is struck from behind while you’re at a red light. In a two-vehicle accident, the driver that struck your vehicle from behind is responsible. However, that may not be the case in a three-vehicle accident, as the person behind them pushed their vehicle into yours.
Your objective is to trace the accident to the triggering event, which in this case was the last driver in the chain striking the vehicle behind you.
So, How Do You Determine Liability?
You may have an idea of who is liable for the accident, but you should expect the other parties to put up a fight. Every party will do its part in placing the blame on someone else.
Determining liability in an accident comes down to one thing: the ability to prove that another driver acted recklessly or negligently. Here’s what you need to establish:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care: In a motor vehicle accident case, the duty of care means that the person must operate their vehicle safely and according to the law.
- A breach of the duty of care: This comes in many forms, such as reckless driving, speeding, distracted driving, or following too closely.
- The breach of the duty of care resulted in an accident: You must be able to prove that the accident caused injuries and you’ve incurred related expenses.
Three-Car Accident Questions to Answer
In addition to the primary question above — how you determine liability in a three-car accident — here are several others to address:
- What were the circumstances leading up to the accident?
- Is there any evidence to back up your claim that another party was at fault?
- Were there any witnesses to the accident?
- Do the other two drivers have insurance coverage?
As you answer these questions, the next steps will become more clear.
Contact Fetterman & Associates, PA for Assistance
While your health is more important than anything else, don’t waste time learning more about who caused the accident and how to seek and receive compensation.
As soon as your health allows, contact your insurance company and a personal injury attorney. Attempting to settle the claim without legal representation can lead to various problems, such as accepting a lowball offer.
At Fetterman & Associates, PA, we have more than 40 years of experience representing injured car accident victims. We understand the ins and outs of three-car accidents, including the steps necessary for you to obtain compensation for injuries, lost wages, property damage, and more.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a three-car accident, contact our law firm online or via phone at (561) 983-4771. One of our experienced personal injury attorneys can step in to answer your questions, put your mind at ease, and help you receive the compensation you deserve.