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Proving Liability in Multi-Vehicle Collisions

 Posted on April 25,2024

Comal County personal injury lawyerMulti-vehicle collisions often involve complex liability issues. When three or more vehicles collide, determining who caused the accident and who owes compensation can be challenging. An aggressive and compassionate Texas lawyer can help you determine how to move forward in this situation.

Negligence and Duty of Care

In Texas, liability in a multi-vehicle crash generally depends on establishing negligence. Every driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care towards others on the road and operate their vehicles prudently to avoid foreseeable risks of harm.

When a driver breaches this duty through actions like speeding, running red lights, or distracted driving, they can be considered negligent. The injured parties must then show this negligence proximately caused the collision and their damages.

Comparative Negligence in Texas

Texas follows a modified comparative negligence model with a 51% bar. This means that to recover damages, the plaintiff’s percentage of responsibility must be 50% or less.

If the plaintiff is 51% or more at fault, they cannot receive compensation. But if 50% or less are responsible, their damages award is reduced by their fault percentage.

This rule allows liability to be divided among the various drivers based on each one’s proportion of negligence in multi-vehicle wrecks.

Identifying the Negligent Drivers

One major challenge in multi-vehicle collisions involves pinpointing which drivers were negligent and proximately caused the wreck. Frequently, liability falls primarily on the rear driver for following too closely or the driver who triggered the initial collision through an unsafe lane change or other error.

Accident reconstructionists often analyze factors like vehicle damage, skid marks, debris fields, and driver/witness testimony to determine the sequence of events and each party’s role.

Contributory Negligence and Unavoidable Accidents

Some collisions happen without any driver being primarily at fault due to unavoidable circumstances like mechanical failures or objects on the road. None of the drivers would be liable in these relatively rare “unavoidable accident” cases.

More commonly, one or more drivers contribute to causing the accident through negligence, while others fail to reasonably avoid the collision despite a clear ability to do so. Texas recognizes this contributory negligence concept, with damages potentially divided among multiple at-fault parties.

Importance of a Thorough Investigation

Multi-vehicle accidents often result in conflicting accounts from the involved parties. A thorough investigation is essential for an attorney to determine liability and secure just compensation accurately. This includes carefully analyzing all available evidence:

  • Photos and videos of the vehicles, road conditions, and other factors
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Accident reports and black box data
  • Skid marks, debris patterns, and damage assessments
  • Accident reconstruction analysis

Contact a Comal County, TX Personal Injury Lawyer

With the facts properly evaluated and documented, a New Braunfels, TX, personal injury attorney can persuasively argue each driver’s apportioned degree of fault under Texas’s comparative negligence rules. Multi-vehicle accidents can seem overwhelming, but having legal representation can make all the difference. Call The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404 for a free consultation.

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