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Car Accident Information Center

3 car rear-end collision

Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision Involving 3 Cars?

One of the worst types of issues that you will face is a rear-end collision involving three cars especially if personal injury is involved. With more vehicles, there will be more mechanical damage and a greater risk of injury. It can also make it harder to decide who is at fault for the accident. Here is everything that you need to know.

How Does a 3 Car Crash Happen?

There are a few situations that can cause a 3 car wreck. But there are two that are more common. These are where the middle car hits the car at the front, and the car at the back hits the middle car. Another common instance is where the car at the back hits the middle car and they collide with the car at the front.

There are some other situations where one vehicle hits multiple other cars. For example, a drunk driver might sideswipe a row of parked cars. Alternatively, a car might go through traffic lights and take out the two cars already at the intersection.

Each of these situations will have a slightly different liability attached to them. For example, a drunk driver or someone breaking road rules would be held liable. A chain of rear collisions, though, is more complex.

Who is Responsible in a 3 Car Rear-End Collision?

As you can imagine, the 3 car rear-end collision laws can be quite complex. It can help to look at where each vehicle sat and what the driver was doing at the time.

Front Driver

In most cases, this person will be exempt from liability. However, there are still other times when they might be declared negligent. For example, they might have applied their brakes too quickly. This wouldn’t have given the vehicles behind them enough time to react to the accident.

Middle Driver

In most cases, the middle driver will carry a portion of the blame. At the very least, they will usually be liable for the damage that was caused to the front car.

Last Driver

This person will also carry a portion of the blame for the accident. They will be liable for the damages that the middle driver sustained. Depending on how the incident occurred, they might also be held liable for a portion of the damages to the front car.

How is Liability Calculated In a 3 car wreck?

While this makes sense in theory, how it applies to calculating 3 car rear-end collision settlements can be more difficult to establish. In Florida, there is a law known as comparative negligence. This requires the court to consider the circumstances of the accident. They will then need to decide how much blame should be proportioned to each person. This will determine how much damages each person receives.

For example, let’s assume that the first car was rear-ended when the last car hit the middle car. The first car received $100,000 worth of damages. The court might decide that the second car bears 20 percent of the fault, so they will need to pay $20,000. The last car might be deemed to be 80 percent to blame, so they need to pay $80,000.

There are a few things that the courts will be looking for when deciding how much fault each person has. Some of the biggest factors include:

  • Driving record
  • Whether the driver was intoxicated or not
  • Where the incident happened
  • Weather conditions at the time of the crash
  • How close the other drivers were

For example, let’s return to our scenario, where the last car slams into the first two. But in this case, the first car was speeding and the second car was tailgating. In this circumstance, the court will often reduce the amount of blame they apply to the last car.

In this example, let’s assume that the first car has $100,000. The middle car might be deemed to be 40 percent liable, which means that they will need to pay $40,000. The last car might be 10 percent responsible, leaving them to pay $10,000. The rest of the bill, the drivers will need to pay themselves.

As you can imagine, this can become very difficult to calculate. Because of this, you should hire a lawyer that is familiar with 3 car rear-end collision settlements. They will be able to help you come up with a strong case.

How Does the Court Decide Fault in a 3 Car Rear-End Collision?

There are many pieces of evidence that the court will use when deciding who should be held liable. For example, they will be able to look at any photos or videos that were taken of the accident scene. They can also look at witness testimony and police reports.

They will also need to establish how much damages you suffered. This can mean getting a mechanic to give a quote on how much it would cost to repair damage to the engine. They will also look at health records. This verifies that the injuries came from the 3 car rear-end hit and tells them how much it cost to get them healed.  

Arguing Against the Fault

Sometimes, the decision of fault might go against you. You should be held liable even if you had followed the road rules properly. There is a way to appeal the decision. However, this can turn into a drawn-out process. Especially, when you add the insurance companies to the mix.

 Because of this, many people accept the decision, pay the amount they owe, and move on. After the judgment, you should talk to your lawyer. They’ll be able to tell you whether you are getting a good deal or if you should pursue an appeal.

How Does Insurance Work in a 3 Car Rear-End Collision?

In the state of Florida, it is required that all drivers carry some form of Personal Insurance Policy (PIP). The amount you can claim through this policy will be $10,000. If this is enough to repair the damages, all you need to do is pay the deductible. You can then make the claim.

However, a 3 car rear-end collision can be a very expensive affair. You could be seriously hurt and your vehicle might have copped substantial damage. If you have more damages than your policy can cover, you will need to sue the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover the excess.

In some cases, you might be able to sue a third party for damages. For example, the accident might have been caused by a faulty set of traffic lights. In this case, you might be able to argue that the city was negligent. Another option is to sue a mechanic that failed to install parts correctly.

How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim?

While it might be a complex situation, you only have a limited time to bring the appropriate situations to a 3 car wreck. You will need to have filed the lawsuits within four years after the accident. If this is a case of wrongful death, you will only have two years to file.

If you want to sue a third party, like a government organization, you will have significantly less time to bring your case. Because of this, it’s recommended that you see a personal injury lawyer as quickly after the accident as possible. This gives them plenty of time to start preparing a strong case.

Final Thoughts

3 car rear-end collision laws can be quite complex. There will be three drivers and three insurance companies in the mix. But the main principle to remember is comparative negligence. It’s up to the court to look at the context in which the accident occurred. They will then decide how the blame should be distributed between the three drivers in the 3 car rear-end collision. 


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