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Who Is At Fault in a Multi-Car Accident in Texas?

Every day, the Lone Star State highways fill with vehicles, carrying people and goods in all directions. And during peak hours, one single mistake by one driver can result in a multi-car accident. The question everyone involved in the crash asks: who is at fault? A Houston car accident lawyer will try to answer this question.

However, remember that if you want to prove fault and win fair compensation, you will need professional legal representation.

Multi-Car Accidents Result in Complex Liabilities

After a highway pile-up, there will be many drivers pointing fingers at each other. In such situation, the police will dispatch an adequate team of officers to photograph and analyze the crash scene and talk to each driver

At this point, you must avoid blaming anyone, even if you are pretty certain who started the collision. As the accident investigation concludes, you may be proven wrong and this will have a negative effect on your claim.

Instead, make sure that you describe strictly what happened. And do not forget to take as many detailed photos of the crash scene. An attorney will need them to start looking for the liable parties.

Several Parties May Be at Fault

Under the comparative negligence principle applicable in Texas, only the driver who is 50% or less at fault for the crash has the right to file a claim. When just two cars are involved, the splitting of responsibility is reasonably straightforward.

But what happens if dozens of vehicles are involved in a multi-car accident? Here, the mathematical calculation gets warped. For one, several drivers can have the right to file claims. At the same time, several parties may be found at fault.

Here is how it works. A multi-vehicle pile-up takes place in the following manner, from a legal standpoint:

  • Initial cause – the initial cause is the first driver or drivers who crashed into each other
  • Subsequent cause – the drivers in the chain collision have their own proportion of fault, because they may have been negligent in failing to avoid crashing their car into the other vehicle

The potential at-fault parties in such a crash can be:

chain collisions often happen in poor visibility conditions

1. An Employer

Many multi-car accidents start with a commercial vehicle, such as a large truck or delivery van. In this situation, an experienced Houston car accident lawyer will check if the driver was an employee of the company and on duty.

If the answers to both questions are “Yes”, then the driver’s employer is also liable for damages under the vicarious liability principle. This principle states that employers are responsible for their employees’ actions, including acts of negligence on the road.

2. A Government Entity

In some cases, the main cause of a multi-car pile-up may be poor road maintenance. This may involve:

  • Potholes or obstacles on the road
  • Missing or malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Faded lines separating lanes
  • Weak or eroding road shoulder
  • Overgrowth obstructing traffic signs
  • Unreasonably narrow lanes

In these situations, the government authority in charge of road building and maintenance may be liable for damages. In this case, you must have a skilled attorney, because suing the government for damages is very difficult.

3. Car Manufacturer or OEM Parts Producer

Finally, the accident could have been caused by vehicle malfunction. This can be owed to a hidden design error or a defect in one of the parts. At this point, the injured drivers’ claims will be filed under strict liability tort law against the car manufacturer or the producer of defective OEM parts.

Schedule a Free Case Review with an Experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer!

Proving fault after a multi-car accident is very difficult. But it is essential if you want to get the fair compensation you deserve for your damages. For this reason, you should contact an experienced Houston car accident lawyer and present all the facts and evidence you have.

You will get a reliable legal opinion and, if you have a valid claim, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis – no fees until we win your case. We also offer each new client a free case review, so call us today at 346-220-1821!

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