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Multi-Vehicle Car Accident: Causes, Fault, and Other Essential Information

Multi-vehicle car accidents happen when 3 or more vehicles are part of a crash or a series of auto collisions that lead to a car pile-up. As these can be very confusing and harrowing events, it’s essential to understand what to expect after the accident as well as know your rights. In multi-vehicle car accidents, determining who’s responsible for the incident is typically done by finding out who acted negligently.

Multiple Vehicle Accident With that said, finding fault in a car accident case such as this one is harder because there are more than 2 parties involved. Let us discuss some of the most common causes of such accidents, how courts and insurance companies determine fault, and your legal rights regarding the matter.

Common Causes

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) claims that fatal accidents involving multiple vehicles have been steadily on the rise since 2021. However, while more and more of these accidents keep occurring, there are some common causes.

Poor Weather Conditions

Poor weather conditions are a huge reason why many of these kinds of car accidents occur. However, while poor weather conditions can be deemed a huge contributing factor, drivers can still be held responsible for the accident if it’s found that they were acting negligently. Drivers that speed on icy or wet roads might still hold some degree of fault if they weren’t able to properly control their vehicle, which then led to the accident.

Reckless Driving

A reckless driver makes dangerous and careless decisions when driving and typically doesn’t care about the safety of other road users. For example, someone wants to overtake the car in front of them. However, they do it where there’s poor visibility and on a double yellow-lined section of the road, thus resulting in a collision.


The decision to drive while drunk usually contributes to a lot of multi-car accidents. A good portion of the traffic-related fatalities that happen all across the globe are due to drunk driving. It’s not an issue only the United States is struggling with. Poor decision-making or subpar reflexes, when one is drunk and behind the wheel, can result in severe consequences. Drunk drivers will not only be liable for any related property damages, but they’ll also have to deal with a DUI charge.

Multiple Vehicle Accident How to Determine Fault

You need to carefully and thoroughly examine all the available evidence and facts when it comes to determining who’s at fault in a multi-auto accident. If more than one party is to blame for the accident, then their insurance service provider or they themselves will have to carry the majority of the financial responsibility.

The process of determining degrees of fault is typically started by the responding police officers. They might interview the drivers, all the passengers involved, and any eyewitnesses of the accident. The police will also look at smartphone or dash cam video footage shared by anyone who’s involved in the accident.

Authorities will use all this evidence to start piecing together what happened, from start to finish. They’ll do this until they can finally determine what or who is responsible for the multi-car accident. Regardless of whether multiple drivers or just one driver are to blame for the incident, the at-fault parties could have to deal with the charges.

The Role of the Insurance Company

Insurance companies also typically conduct their own investigations to help validate related claims.

An insurance adjuster gets assigned the case. Once the case is on their desk, they reach out to the parties involved for more information before making any final decisions.

If a driver is responsible for the accident, their insurance company will typically settle the issue on their behalf. However, this depends on the driver’s policy coverage.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 4th May 2024.

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