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Determining Fault in Multi-Vehicle Accidents

While any car accident can result in serious injuries or death, collisions involving multiple vehicles have higher rates of injuries. Liability can also be difficult to assess in multi-vehicle accidents, which makes recovering compensation for injuries more challenging.

In this post, the Cincinnati injury lawyers at Young, Reverman & Mazzei discuss how multi-vehicle accidents occur and how liability is assessed when numerous drivers are involved.

What Causes Multi-Vehicle Crashes?

Multi-vehicle accidents often occur when one driver rear-ends another, which can set off a chain reaction of collisions, especially in heavy traffic.

Multi-vehicle crashes are often the result of one driver following another vehicle too closely. However, other factors may also be involved. Inclement weather, distracted driving, and driving too fast for conditions are other common factors in multi-vehicle accidents.

Determining fault in these accidents can be complex, and sometimes multiple drivers will share liability for resulting damages. Furthermore, each state has its own rules regarding liability in motor vehicle crashes.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents in Ohio

Ohio is an “at-fault” state, which allows accident injury victims to seek damages from the at-fault driver or drivers and their insurance providers.

According to recent data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), multi-vehicle accidents comprised about 48 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in Ohio in 2017. The same report indicates that of the nearly 2,000 car accident-related fatalities in Ohio in 2017, 561 stemmed from multi-vehicle accidents.

To establish liability in these crashes, Ohio uses a “modified comparative negligence” system, in which liability is assigned based on a percentage of fault, and multiple drivers may share blame for a crash. At-fault drivers are responsible for paying damages in an amount directly related to their percentage of fault. For example, if a driver is found 45 percent liable for a multi-vehicle accident, that driver and his or her insurance provider are responsible for covering 45 percent of the resulting damages.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents in Indiana

Like Ohio, Indiana is an “at-fault” state when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. This means that injury victims can seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages from at-fault drivers and their insurance providers.

According to the most recent Indiana Crash Facts report, nearly 85 percent of all reported car accidents in the state in 2017 involved multiple vehicles. Multi-vehicle accidents also accounted for more than 60 percent of all fatal crashes in Indiana in 2017.

As with neighboring Ohio, Indiana employs a “modified comparative negligence” system to establish liability in motor vehicle accidents. This system stipulates that the amount of damages you receive after a car accident is directly tied to your percentage of liability. You cannot recover any damages from others if your share of fault is more than 50 percent.

Under Indiana state law, individuals who have been involved in a car accident are required to stop and exchange insurance and contact information with any other drivers involved. You must also report the accident to the police within 10 days of the accident if the crash results in injury, death, or property damage over $1,000.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents in Kentucky

Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” state, which means that vehicle owners can opt out of no-fault insurance and choose to file a lawsuit to recover damages if they’re hurt in a collision caused by another driver or other drivers. Drivers who choose to utilize the no-fault system give up their right to sue after an accident, and they also cannot be sued by other drivers; injury victims instead pursue damages through their own insurance companies.

Kentucky was home to more than 160,000 reported motor vehicle crashes in 2017, according to a state Traffic Collision Facts report. More than half of those involved multiple vehicles.

Although drivers in Kentucky are required by state law to carry basic personal injury protection (PIP) and bodily injury liability coverage, they may choose not to participate in the no-fault system by submitting a No Fault Rejection form. This choice allows drivers to reserve their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against at-fault drivers in the event of a crash. Opting out of the no-fault system also opens the policyholder up to the risk of being sued if they are found at fault for an accident.

How an Attorney Can Help After a Multi-Vehicle Accident

If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a crash that was the fault of another driver or drivers, it’s advisable to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Multi-vehicle collisions present unique challenges regarding assessing liability and collecting compensation for damages. Having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can help ensure that your rights are protected in the aftermath of an accident, and that you’re pursuing the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled.

The Cincinnati injury attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei have extensive experience in motor vehicle accident claims, including those involving multiple parties. We work hard to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, and we have the resources and courtroom expertise to take your case to trial when insurance company settlement offers are too low.

Please call us today at 800-721-1678 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation. We welcome clients from the greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas. We are also proud to represent clients from Campbell, Boone and Kenton Counties in Kentucky, and Dearborn County in Indiana.

Please see our locations page for a complete list of our offices and directions.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association