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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Determining Liability in a Three-car Accident: Who Is at Fault?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one reportable crash occurred every 58 seconds in the Lone Star State in 2018. When a collision occurs, it is crucial for the injured victim to identify the liable party so that they can pursue a personal injury case to recover the damages.

Determining fault in a three-car crash can be challenging, which is why injured victims need to reach out to Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can help investigate the incident, protect the victim's rights, and guide them on their legal options. They can help advise in situations like accident not my fault car totaled.

Common Causes of Three-car Accidents in Houston, Texas

Common Causes of Three-car Accidents in Houston, Texas

In most three-vehicle accidents, the leading car creates a triggering event, resulting in multiple cars crashing into one another. This could involve a big rig or a truck that loses control on the highway and crashes, creating a roadblock for the other drivers.

However, smaller vehicles can also cause chain reaction collisions. There are several causes of three-car accidents in Houston, Texas, some of which include the following:

  • Drunk driving

  • Distracted driving

  • Reckless driving

  • Overtaking another vehicle

  • Speeding

  • Failure to yield to oncoming traffic

  • Any other negligent act

How Can a Three-car Accident in Houston Affect the Victims?

Motor vehicle accidents can have a devastating impact on the parties involved, often leading to serious injuries. This can lead to physical, mental, and financial consequences.

An injured victim may need extensive medical care, surgery, therapy, and rehabilitation, which can put a financial strain on their bank balance. The affected parties, in most car accidents, suffer from trauma and emotional distress, adversely impacting their social life and relationships with friends and family members.

In cases involving wrongful death, the family members may go through a tough time, emotionally and financially. This is often the case when the victim who dies after a car accident is the sole breadwinner.

Fortunately, an injured victim or the affected parties in Houston can pursue a personal injury case. Although bringing a civil action may not undo the damage caused, it can allow them to fight for justice and receive the compensatory damages they deserve.

What Are the Damages Injured Victims Can Recover after a Multi-car Accident in Houston?

There are two main types of damages that the injured parties may be able to recover following a multi-car accident in Houston, Texas, and these include the following:

Economic Damages

When a car accident happens, it can lead to direct financial losses (out-of-pocket expenses), which may include the following:

  • Medical expenses: This includes all types of medical bills, such as hospital costs, surgery fees, prescription medication, therapy payments, and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the injured victim due to their injuries.

  • Lost wages: A multi-car accident can lead to injuries, forcing the injured victim out of work for days, weeks, and even months. In cases involving permanent disabilities, the affected party may never be able to return to work. A personal injury case can help them recover current lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.

  • Property damage: A car accident can lead to serious property damage, requiring the victim to either pay for repairs or replacements. By bringing a personal injury case against the negligent party's insurance company, they may be able to recover these types of losses.

Non-economic Damages

A multi-car accident can lead to non-economic damages, which do not have a dollar value assigned to it. In most cases, these include mental and emotional injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, mental anguish, physical pain, reduced quality of life, and more.

Although non-economic damages are difficult to quantify, they are an essential part of a personal injury case that the injured victims may be able to pursue.

The court may also award punitive damages in multi-car accidents involving gross negligence, such as drunk driving. These are awarded to punish the negligent party for their reckless actions and prevent others from committing similar acts.

Determining Liability in a Three-car Accident: Who Is at Fault?

Establishing fault in a chain reaction car accident can become more and more challenging as the number of vehicles involved increases. There is a possibility that the liability may fall on a single driver or multiple negligent drivers, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise in situations like car accident no one admits fault.

Here's an example of how a single driver may be liable for a three-car accident:

Ben gets distracted by the newly installed billboard while driving on the freeway. He ends up rear-ending a vehicle that crashes into the car in front of them.

In the above example, Ben is liable for any damages caused to the front and middle car drivers, as he was negligent and did not pay attention to the road.

The following is an example of how multiple drivers could be responsible for a multiple-car accident:

Mark is driving on a highway when an animal suddenly jumps onto the road, causing him to brake immediately. Kathy is in the rear vehicle, tailgating Mark, causing her to crash into him. A third vehicle, driven by Ben, is tailgating Kathy and collides with her car.

In the example mentioned above, Kathy may be liable for crashing into the first car, and Ben could be responsible for colliding with Kathy.

If a multiple-car accident involves a rear-end collision, in most cases, the driver behind the front car is responsible for the damages. This is because traffic rules require everyone to stay aware of their surroundings, pay attention to the road, and maintain a safe following distance.

In some rare cases, it may not be the drivers responsible for a multiple-car accident but the vehicle manufacturer or a government entity that failed to place warning signs or maintain the roads.

When pursuing a personal injury case after a multiple-car accident, the injured party must determine fault by conducting a proper investigation.

What to Do After a Multi-car Accident in Houston, Texas

Whether it is a chain reaction crash or any other type of accident, it is essential for the victims to take the right steps to protect themselves and their personal injury cases. These include the following:

Call 911 for Emergency Help

Chain reaction crashes can be deadly, which is why it is crucial for the drivers involved to ensure their safety and the safety of the vehicle occupants.

It's best to call 911 if there are any injuries and request emergency help and police assistance.

Wait for the Police to Arrive

When the police arrive at the accident scene, they will question the parties involved to produce a Texas police officer's crash report (CR-3). This is an essential document that the injured victims must submit when pursuing a personal injury case against the negligent party's insurance company.

Exchange Information with the Other Drivers

After the car crash, if the innocent driver can move around, they must reach out to the other drivers involved and exchange contact details, insurance information, and vehicle registration numbers. This is extremely useful when filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover the damages incurred.

Gather Evidence

When multi-car accidents happen, it is important to have concrete evidence that can help establish fault and determine the negligent party.

The three-car accident victims should take pictures and videos of the vehicles involved, the accident scene, road markings, nearby traffic signs, and other relevant details.

If there are any witnesses around, talking to them and taking their phone numbers for further correspondence can add a lot of weight to a personal injury case.

In some cases, gathering evidence may not be possible due to the injuries sustained, which is why it's best for the injured victims to wait for medical help.

Seek Medical Help

After the three-car accident, the injured victim should immediately head to a hospital for medical treatment.

In some cases, the injuries may not be so apparent without conducting imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRIs. Heading to a doctor after a car crash can help determine internal injuries and the next course of action.

On the other hand, some injuries can take time to manifest. The multi-car accident victims should monitor their symptoms over the next few days and contact a doctor if they're experiencing sudden pain or medical problems.

Reach Out to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Although medical treatment after a multi-car accident is essential, pursuing a personal injury case is also crucial.

Accident victims need to realize that they only have limited time to bring a civil action if they wish to recover the damages incurred. Experienced car accident attorneys in Houston TX can assess the personal injury case and guide the affected party accordingly.

How Can an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Help the Injured Victims After a Three-car Crash?

How Can an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Help the Injured Victims After a Three-car Crash?

There are several ways Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help the injured victims, some of which include the following:

  • Allocate resources to investigate the accident and gather evidence to determine fault;

  • Build a strong trial-ready personal injury claim, adhere to the legal process, and file it with the negligent party's insurance company;

  • Negotiate with the insurer(s) for maximum compensation; and

  • Go to trial if there are any disagreements over a fair settlement.

Injured Victims Should Schedule a Free Consultation with a Top Houston Law Firm

Those who have suffered injuries in Houston, Texas, in a multi-car accident due to another's negligence can call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, as they may be eligible for compensation.


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