When one car crashes into another, it’s often easy to determine who was at fault for the accident. But what happens when you are involved in an auto accident with more than two cars? Who is liable often becomes murky, and there are many variables to consider. It is even possible that more than one person is liable. It all depends on where and how the crash began, and how each respective driver reacted during the crash.
Determining liability is one of the most important parts of any personal injury claim or lawsuit. Harris Lowry Manton LLP has a network of field experts, including accident reconstructionists, financial planners, and medical experts who help us build your case for damages. This, combined with our years of experience as trial attorneys, makes us a formidable team to have on your side.
What is comparative negligence?
Comparative negligence is used when there are multiple liable parties involved in a crash. In some states, the blame is split under comparative negligence. That’s where a certain percentage of blame is assigned to each party, and that percentage is used in splitting up any awards and recovery of damages.
Other states, including Georgia, use a model known as modified comparative negligence. In this instance, if the plaintiff – the injured person bringing the lawsuit – is found by a jury to be more than 50 percent responsible, then the plaintiff cannot recover damages. If Person A tried to file a lawsuit against Person B, but the jury found that Person A was more than 50 percent at fault for the crash or incident, Person A may be barred from collecting damages. There are, however, exceptions to every rule, which is why you want an experienced car crash lawyer to review your case as soon as possible.
Accidents involving more than two vehicles
Determining liability in a multi-vehicle accident, like a chain reaction car accident, can be challenging because multiple parties may be at fault. Imagine someone crashes into the back of a long line of cars setting off a chain reaction of rear-end collisions. Who is at fault? It might be reasonable to think that the first person who crashed into the back of the first car in the line is the one at fault, but there might be more than one person liable depending on how the initial crash happened and how each driver reacted to being hit.
For example, say Person A crashes into Person B who then rear-ends Person C. Is Person A responsible? What if Person B’s brake lights were broken, and therefore Person A could not tell that Person B had come to a sudden stop until it was too late? It could be then posited that Person B is partially responsible for the chain of crashes because of their negligence in maintaining their car.
These issues become exponentially more complex when more vehicles are involved. In 2002, heavy fog led to a pileup involving more than 120 vehicles, including tractor-trailers, right near the border of Georgia and Tennessee. A case like this not only involved multiple insurance companies, but it also required complex investigations in two different states that took more than a year to complete.
So – who is at fault? Generally speaking, liable parties can include:
- One or more negligent drivers
- Trucking companies, if there are semi-trucks involved
- Manufacturers, if a defective part causes the crash
- Government agencies, if a road defect is to blame
While being involved in a car accident with multiple vehicles is a terrifying and complicated ordeal, understanding Georgia law will help you understand how much you may be liable for and how much you may be awarded in your potential legal claim. The experienced attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP have the knowledge and understanding to protect your rights and represent your best interests. We have fought and won hundreds of automobile cases for our clients, securing numerous high-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients. Contact our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847 or our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or use our contact page to set up an appointment for counsel and advice.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.