In California traffic, pile-up accidents are all too common. This often raises the infamous question, “Who’s at Fault?”. Here’s the breakdown of responsibility and fault in a pile-up accident.

The Front Car’s Liability

In a pile-up accident, the “front car” is the car in the front of the pileup, the first car that first braked. In pile-up accidents, front cars are typically not held liable. Nevertheless, if the front car suddenly hit the brakes to avoid rear-ending the car in front of it and was consequentially rear-ended, the front car may hold some liability for the accident. In order to hold the front car liable, it must be proven that he or she contributed to the accident by suddenly braking.

In most cases, cars involved in accidents place blame on the cars behind them.

Pride Legal recommends hiring an experienced Pride Legal Personal Injury Attorney to receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.

California contributory negligence laws state that an individual must be held responsible for their own negligence. If you are partially responsible for the crash, a California court will order that you contribute your portion of the case’s ultimate settlement or judgment. For example, if you are held 50% responsible for a car accident, you must pay 50% of the ultimate damages.

Middle Cars’ Liability

In pile-up accidents, middle cars are usually held responsible for the damage to the care in front of them, regardless of whether force from the end car caused the accident. However, liability may be placed on the car in front of them if it can be proved that the driver suddenly braked and therefore caused the car accident. If necessary, a California court will apply contributory negligence to the middle car.

Front cars often have the ability to seek a cause of action against the middle and last cars. A cause of action is often pursued when insufficient funds are available in the middle or last car drivers’ insurance policy.

For example, Josh, Mary, and Alex get in a three-car pile-up accident. Josh, the front car’s driver, suffers serious injuries from the crash, exceeding $50,000 in expected costs. Mary, the middle car’s driver, and Alex, the last car’s driver,  both carry low insurance policies of $10,000. Josh can pursue a cause of action against both drivers for his significant injuries.

The End Car’s Liability

The end cars are also often held responsible for causing the accident. End cars may not be held liable in a car accident if:

  • The front or middle cars suddenly braked: If it can be proven that the front or middle cars slammed the brakes, subsequentially causing the car accident, the end driver may be held not or less liable.
  • Sudden brake issues: If the end car’s driver attempts to break but his or her car’s system does not respond, other parties may be held responsible, often the driver’s insurance company.

In most cases, cars involved in accidents place blame on the cars behind them.

Steps to Take After A Pile-Up Accident

1. Immediately Seek Medical Attention For Your Injuries

Regardless of how you feel after a pile-up accident, get a medical evaluation immediately. Your injuries can be much worse than you think.

2. Exchange Insurance Information

Even if you think you are at fault for the accident, keep a record of all insurance information for the vehicles involved.

3. Take Photos

Take photos of your car’s damage, other cars’ damage, and the overall scene. Include photos of any skid marks left on the road by tires, glass, etc. Don’t hesitate to take pictures.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one is has been injured in a car accident, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.