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How Is Fault Determined in a Multiple-Vehicle Accident?

Often called chain-reaction accidents or pileups, multiple-vehicle crashes involve more than two cars, trucks, or semis. Because there may be several parties involved, determining fault and assigning liability in a multiple-vehicle crash can be challenging. Our car accident lawyers at Johnson and Taylor handle all types of cases involving multiple vehicles. Knowing how car accident fault is determined in Oregon can help you better understand the possible outcomes of a personal injury lawsuit.

Common Causes of Multiple-Vehicle Accidents in Oregon

Each situation is unique, but common causes of multi-vehicle accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Semi-truck accidents
  • Inclement weather

Our vehicle accident lawyers have extensive experience in personal injury law and have successfully handled cases involving countless crash scenarios.

Who Is to Blame for a Multi-Vehicle Crash?

Establishing fault in a multiple-vehicle crash can be complicated, but common culprits include:

  • The vehicle in front. When a car or truck suddenly hits the brakes, vehicles behind it may not be able to stop in time. This can set off a chain reaction of rear-end collisions, especially in heavy traffic. Although drivers behind the vehicle in front should maintain a safe distance, if the first driver hits the brakes for no reason, they could be found liable for causing a pileup crash.
  • The middle vehicle. Even if the vehicle in front was in motion or applied the brakes smoothly, a car behind it and in front of other vehicles can rear-end it. This often happens when a motorist is speeding or distracted.
  • The vehicle behind. The motorist bringing up the rear may be held liable if they hit a vehicle in front of them in a chain-reaction accident.

In all these scenarios, multiple motorists may be found to be at fault. That’s why these crashes require extensive investigation by law enforcement, insurance adjusters, and experienced personal injury lawyers. Evidence such as police reports, photographs, and the testimony of witnesses and experts can all be vital elements when determining car accident fault in a chain-reaction collision. Car crash attorneys often enlist the help of expert accident reconstructions to determine how a collision happened and who is at fault.

What to Do After a Multiple-Vehicle Crash

If you’re involved in a multiple-vehicle accident, call 911 and wait for police to arrive. If you are able and it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the scene, damage to vehicles, and your injuries. When you speak to the police, other motorists, or witnesses do not say anything like “I’m sorry” or “it was my fault.” Gather contact and insurance information from everyone involved in the multi-vehicle crash and any witnesses. Use the voice recorder on your phone or jot down notes about how the accident happened. Do not give a statement to insurance adjusters, sign anything, or accept a settlement without speaking to a motor vehicle accident lawyer first.

One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms of serious injuries such as internal bleeding may not be apparent right away. Going to the emergency room or seeing a doctor can ensure your injuries are properly diagnosed and you get the care you need. Medical records also provide valuable documentation of your injuries and will be essential if you decide to file a personal injury claim.

Recovering Compensation in Multiple-Vehicle Accident Claims

Pileup crashes often result in serious injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a multi-car crash, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you recover damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income and earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Unfortunately, insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind and try to pay as little as possible on claims. An experienced car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate your claim and handle all negotiations with insurers. Having a seasoned personal injury lawyer on your side can significantly increase your chances of recovering the maximum compensation you need to protect your health and financial security.

Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys to Learn More

At Johnson and Taylor, our vehicle accident lawyers are dedicated to fighting for injured victims’ rights. If you’ve been hurt in a multiple-vehicle crash, contact us online or call 503-990-6641 to schedule a free consultation. Johnson and Taylor litigates personal injury, divorce and family law and estate planning and probate cases. Our personal injury lawyers serve clients in Salem, Eugene, Bend, the Oregon Coast, Medford, and throughout the entire state of Oregon. Our experienced team includes Spanish-speaking attorneys and staff.