Posted in Car Accident on February 21, 2023
Any car accident is terrifying, but when an accident involves several cars piling up in a multi-car collision the impacts are even greater—both during the accident itself and in the aftermath and recovery process. For those injured in a multiple-car pile-up in Texas, understanding who is liable in the accident is a requirement in order to gain compensation for their injuries and medical expenses from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Texas is an at-fault insurance state, where it matters who caused or contributed to an accident. Determining liability can be difficult in any accident, but it becomes an even more complex matter to untangle in a multiple-car pileup.
Texas Has a Comparative Fault Insurance System
Determining who is at fault in an accident is part of the insurance claims process in Texas car accidents due to the state’s at-fault insurance laws. Because the at-fault system in Texas operates under the comparative fault rule, drivers who are more than 50% at fault in an accident are liable, so their insurance must pay for damages. However, if the actions of other drivers in the accident show they were partially at fault—for instance because a driver could have avoided adding to the pileup had they not been speeding—the amount of their compensation for damages becomes reduced by their percentage of fault. In the above scenario, if the speeder is determined to have been 25% at fault, and their damages amounted to $100,000, they would recover $75,000. But to determine this, an investigation into the circumstances of the accident must first take place.
Investigating Liability in a Multiple Car Pile Up
Part of investigating a multiple-car pile-up accident in Texas to prove liability and determine each driver’s percentage of fault is examining the police report. However, because police naturally focus more time and attention on criminality, the police report may not be as thorough or complete as an accident victim would like in order to maximize their recovery from damages. In many cases, a skilled Texas accident attorney can investigate an accident to determine liability and comparative fault through the following:
- Carefully examining the police report
- Reviewing traffic camera footage and/or dash-cam footage
- Examining accident scene photos
- Interviewing eyewitnesses to the accident
- Hiring accident scene reconstruction experts
By carefully reviewing all evidence after a multi-car accident, a lawyer can help to determine fault and liability in an accident involving several vehicles and their drivers. Liability also requires showing the following:
- That an at-fault driver owed a duty of care to others on the road
- That the driver breached that duty through a reckless or negligent act
- That the breach directly led to the accident and injuries
- That the injury victim suffered damages to their person and finances due to the injury
What to Do After a Multiple Car Pile Up in Texas
If you’ve been injured in a terrifying multiple-car accident, you may be too injured to do anything other than wait for emergency services to help. However, if you are able to safely move without causing further injury, take the following steps to help your later recovery:
- Move to the shoulder of the road and call 911 on your cell phone to report the accident and render reasonable aid or comfort to other victims
- Use your phone to snap photos of the accident scene, including all involved cars and any relevant details like traffic signals and intersections
- Use your phone to collect the contact information of all involved drivers
- Accept emergency transportation to a hospital for a complete medical evaluation and tell the medical professionals about every symptom. Ask for a detailed report and follow all your doctor’s instructions
- Keep your medical bills, the medical report, and a copy of the police report
- Call a Texas car accident attorney before speaking to any insurance representatives
Insurance companies frequently use tactics to try to deny or minimize the value of a claim. By working with a San Antonio car accident attorney, you have someone advocating for your interests throughout the entire claims process so you can focus on your recovery.