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Who Pays for Damages in a Multi-Car Accident?

Posted on November 30, 2020 in

Many car accident claims only involve two drivers. Under Arizona’s fault insurance laws, establishing who is at fault — and who has to pay for the victim’s losses — is relatively simple in these situations. The court or insurance company has to examine the actions of both drivers and assign liability based on who caused the accident.

However, if the car accident involves more than two drivers, liability becomes more complex. If you are the victim of a multi-car accident, you will need to enlist the help of an attorney to determine liability and establish your right to damages.

Establishing Negligence in Arizona Car Accident Claims

Since Arizona is a fault-based insurance state, you will need to know who exactly is responsible for the accident in order to file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.

To establish fault in these cases, you will need to prove four important elements.

  • The driver owed you a duty to obey traffic laws and drive safely.
  • The driver breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or omission.
  • The driver’s breach of duty directly caused your accident.
  • You suffered damages in the accident you can receive compensation for. This may include medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering.

Investigating a Multi-Car Accident

After any car accident, an investigation is necessary to determine who is at fault and therefore financially liable. The investigation process is similar whether your accident involves two cars or more. Your attorney, the defendant’s attorney, or the insurance company will review various pieces of evidence, such as surveillance footage, witness testimony, and medical records to establish the cause of the accident and identify a liable party.

Your attorney may also consult with expert witnesses, such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists, to gain a clearer picture of your injuries and how the accident occurred. Reconstructionists are especially valuable in multi-car accident claims; these professionals can help retrace the actions of each driver involved in the collision and identify who may be responsible.

At the conclusion of the investigation, your attorney will determine how the accident occurred and who the liable party is. You will then use this information to understand who to file your claim against. If you are filing an insurance claim, the adjuster may also come to an investigatory conclusion and use this information to determine if you are eligible for financial compensation.

Arizona’s Comparative Negligence Laws

In some multi-car accident claims, two or more parties share liability for the accident. If two or more drivers caused your accident, you can only claim compensation proportional to their share of the fault in an Arizona lawsuit.

Likewise, if you share liability for the accident, Arizona’s comparative negligence laws will reduce your award by the amount of fault you share. For example, if you claim $20,000 in damages and share 40% of the liability, you will only receive $12,000. Arizona allows injured plaintiffs to recover compensation even if they are 99% at fault.

Whether you are filing a lawsuit or insurance claim, it is clear that multi-car accidents are very complex. You need an attorney on your side who can launch a comprehensive investigation into the collision, identify the at-fault party, and represent your best interests whether you file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Contact a Prescott car accident attorney as soon as possible following your accident to begin the investigation process.