Determining fault in a multi-vehicle car accident can be complicated. That said, if the accident involves injuries or property damage, it’s important to know who was responsible. 

New York is a no-fault state, which means that each party in an accident makes a claim to their own insurance company for their losses after an accident. However, when there are serious injuries or damage, losses sometimes exceed policy limits, and injured parties must seek compensation from the responsible parties. 

Here’s a look at how to determine liability in a multi-vehicle accident. To learn more or discuss your case, contact a New York car accident lawyer

What Is a Multi-Car Accident?

A multi-car accident is an accident that involves three or more vehicles. These are often chain event accidents, where one driver triggers an accident that causes a multi-car pileup. Multi-vehicle accidents are most common when there’s bad weather, a drunk driver, or a reckless driver. 

Common types of multi-car accidents are: 

  • Rear-end crashes: One car rear-ends a vehicle, and the vehicle ends up crashing into another car. 
  • Head-on crash: When a vehicle goes into oncoming traffic, it’s common to collide with multiple vehicles or for vehicles to swerve and hit another car. 
  • Intersection accidents: Intersections are a common place for multi-car accidents. If a car runs a light or fails to yield, it can lead to multi-car pileups. 

How to Determine Fault in a New York Multi-Car Accident

As a general rule, the driver who started the events that led to the accident may be held responsible. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Plus, responsibility can be shared if multiple drivers are at fault. For example, if drivers are speeding or tailgating, it can impact who is responsible. 

Because it’s often tricky to determine who’s responsible, it’s important to do a full investigation after a car accident, including analyzing: 

  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Photos and videos from the accident scene 
  • Expert witness testimony 
  • Accident reconstruction experts

An experienced car accident lawyer knows what evidence is necessary and how to determine responsibility after a car accident.

What If Multiple Drivers Are at Fault in New York? 

New York takes a comparative fault approach when assigning responsibility after a collision. This means that drivers are assigned a percentage of fault and responsible for that percentage of damages. For example, if you’re found to be 20% at fault, you can recover 80% of your damages from other drivers responsible for the accident. 

What to Do After a Multi-Car Accident 

Gathering evidence after a car accident can help to determine and assign fault. 

If you’re involved in an accident: 

  1. Seek any needed medical treatment. If anyone is injured in the accident, call 911 and prioritize getting medical care. 
  2. Report the accident to the police. You should always stay at the scene until the police arrive. “Fleeing” from the accident scene is a criminal offense, so wait for the police even if the accident was minor. 
  3. Exchange information with the other drivers. Get names, contact information, and insurance information for everyone involved. 
  4. Take pictures or videos of the accident scene. Accidents are often cleared quickly, so it’s helpful to get videos and pictures as quickly as possible. 
  5. Talk to witnesses. Get the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses. 
  6. Contact your insurance company. Whether or not you’re at fault, you should notify your insurance company of the accident. 
  7. Contact a car accident lawyer. A New York personal injury lawyer can analyze your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve after an accident. 

A New York Car Accident Lawyer Can Help After a Multi-Vehicle Accident

Multi-car accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and property damage. They’re also complicated because assigning fault can be difficult.

If you’ve been in a New York multi-car accident in Manhattan, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City car accident lawyers at Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum Personal Injury Lawyers
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007