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3 Things Every Driver Should Know About Multi-Car Pileups

Multi-car pileups have made the news all too often in recent months. While most of these accidents were determined to be related to extreme winter weather conditions, they also happen all too regularly on sunny days with perfectly dry pavement conditions.

When multiple vehicle accident happens in conditions where weather is not a factor, they are often found to have been caused by the action of just one driver. In some cases, this driver may have swerved suddenly to avoid an animal or obstacle in the roadway and bumped another car, starting the horrible chain reaction.

In others, a mechanical problem or simple inattention may have caused them to stop, swerve or take another action that resulted in all the cars behind them having to try to stop suddenly or swerve to avoid them. Here are some things to know before you call a car accident injury attorney.

Fault is not always assessed to the first car in the chain

If you have ever been involved in a multi-car pileup or narrowly avoided one, you may be wandering how fault is determined in these complicated scenarios. While it might seem that the actions of the first car in the pileup should be at fault, many states have driving laws that specify safe following distances that drivers are expected to obey. 

Drivers who are following safe driving distance laws for their state are expected to be able to have time to stop their car safely or take a corrective action to avoid a potential accident. Because of these laws, the driver at fault in a multi-car pileup would not necessarily be the first driver to lose control. Instead, fault might be assessed to one or more of the drivers who could not avoid colliding with the car ahead of them. 

Cars that are pushed forward may not be found at fault

Determining fault correctly is further complicated by the fact that not all cars behind the initial car in a multi-vehicle accident will have actually slid into the car in front of them by their own actions. Instead, many of these cars are actually pushed forward into the car or cars in front of them by the force of a driver behind them who could not stop their vehicle. 

Investigating a multiple vehicle accident to determine fault is a difficult situation with plenty of room for error. Drivers who find themselves involved in this type of tragic accident should immediately contact a reputable car accident attorney to learn how they can protect themselves from unnecessary liability issues from this type of vehicle accident.