One recent morning saw all the lanes of northbound I-35 closed near Stassney Lane, in South Austin, after a “multi-car crash” occurred. The highway was closed for several hours while crews cleared the debris from the accident, only opening hours later to morning traffic. No word as of this writing as to how many people were injured or killed, but it is reasonable to assume that someone sustained an injury due to the sheer tonnage and potential dangers of a multi-car crash. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to be aware that establishing liability in a multi-vehicle accident is generally more difficult than doing so in a single-car crash.
Causes and Effects
Multi-vehicle accidents are less common than single-vehicle crashes, but when they happen, it is most often on highways or at busy intersections. The causes of multi-vehicle crashes are many, but some of the most often seen include inclement weather (and, indirectly, driver recklessness, such as failing to take precautions while driving through bad weather), speeding, and, in rural areas, so-called “highway hypnosis.” Distracted driving is also a particular issue in multi-vehicle crashes, especially since one wrong move can lead to significant damage and injury.
One of the major issues in a multi-vehicle crash is determining just who the defendant or defendants might be. Texas personal injury cases allow for multiple defendants, but it can be difficult to determine who they might be – unless you are able to determine who started the chain, so to speak. Multi-car crashes are sometimes caused by a chain reaction, after which you may be able to determine the two vehicles that crashed first – but sometimes the cars simply pile up. Either way, you may be able to file suit to recover for your injuries.
Each Defendant Liable for Their Own Faults
If you have been injured in a multi-car collision, regardless of type, you have the right to seek redress. You may file a suit in negligence law, against one or more defendants, alleging that they failed to exercise the duty of care owed by every motorist to every other in Texas. If you can show that other motorists’ failure to take reasonable care was the direct cause of your injuries, with no other intervening event, you have a good chance to recover at least partially.
Be advised that Texas does observe comparative fault rules, meaning that if you are ruled to have been more than 50 percent liable for your own injuries, you cannot recover at all. However, if your percentage of fault is less than 50 percent, you can still recover, minus your percentage – for example, if you are ruled 20 percent responsible, you can still recover up to 80 percent of your damages from the defendant or defendants. That said, each defendant is only responsible for their percentage of liability – joint and several liability, where each defendant was potentially liable for the entire amount of plaintiff’s injuries, has been abolished in Texas.
Call a New Braunfels Multi-Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a multi-vehicle crash, there are exponentially more questions to answer than you would have with only two cars involved in your accident. Having an experienced attorney on your side can be a great help in getting through what can be an intimidating legal process. The dedicated New Braunfels multi-vehicle accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can assist you with any questions you might have. Contact our offices at 888-392-0039 today to schedule a free consultation.