How do you determine who is at fault when multiple drivers collide?
When there are only two cars in a car accident, it is usually fairly easy to determine who is at fault. In Missouri, whoever is at fault for a car accident is liable for paying for both damages and injuries to the drivers and passengers involved.
However, how do you determine who is at fault when multiple drivers collide? It is often a chain reaction when one car hits another and another, and there isn’t always just one driver to blame.
Missouri is a state that adheres to the doctrine of comparative negligence. That means that more than one driver can be held responsible and be liable for a car accident. The way that comparative negligence works is that each driver is ascribed a percentage of negligence for the accident. That percentage is then used to decide who has to pay what once the cost of the accident is totaled.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is when a driver does something that leads to an accident. It can also be that the driver fails to do something, and it is their failure to act that directly leads to the accident happening. There are occasions that both or all drivers are negligent in their actions or their failure to act and avoid an accident. If that is the case, they are required to pay the portion of the accident that is their fault.
How Is Comparative Negligence Calculated?
The problem with comparative negligence is that the calculation is not an exact science. Often, the percentages can be somewhat arbitrary, which is why it is best to have an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer to defend you in court. The sad reality is that the person who has the best lawyer is typically ascribed the least amount of negligence.
The way that negligence is determined is often through negotiation. It is critical that you have a police report filed. Although not admissible in a court of law, a police report can help to lend credence to your account of what happened before and during the accident. To prove that you aren’t responsible for the accident, you will need documentation like a police report, eyewitness testimony, and statements made by all the parties involved in the accident.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you are involved in a multi-car accident, it can sometimes be more difficult to decipher who is at fault. If more than one person is negligent for the accident, then figuring out who owes what can be highly subjective.
To ensure that you aren’t left paying for someone else’s mistake, make sure that you speak with a car accident attorney. A lawyer will know how to negotiate and to stop you from paying more than your fair share.
If you are involved in a multi-car accident, call (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation to ensure your legal rights are protected.