How Is Fault Determined in Multi-Car Accidents in Florida?

January 21, 2022 | Firm News

When more than two cars are involved in a single accident, the situation can get complicated.  Often, the damage to the vehicles and the injuries to the people involved in such an accident can be much more severe.  Where there are multiple impacts, proving who is at fault for the resulting damages can also prove to be more complex.

There are a number of circumstances that can lead to multi-car accidents or pileups in Florida.  Some can be chalked up to human error, and others to natural conditions.  It is not uncommon for multiple factors to work together to produce a multi-car accident.  However, Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that recovery in a car accident lawsuit will be reduced proportionally if it is determined that the injured party was also at fault to some degree.

If you were involved in a multi-car accident in Florida, you shouldn’t be intimidated out of recovery by the complexity of proving who is at fault.  At Newman Injury Law, our experienced Hollywood car accident attorneys can help you go through the facts, determine who is to blame, and calculate the compensation you deserve to help cope with the harms you suffered.  To set up a free initial consultation about your multi-car accident personal injury case, call our Florida offices at 954-495-8500.

Common Multi-Car Accident Causes in Florida

The most common form of multi-car accident is one where one car rear-ended the car in front so forcefully that it forced that car to rear-end the car in front of it.  In these pileups where the driver of the middle car did not substantially contribute to the accident, the driver in the rear is typically at fault for the damages to both cars as well as injuries to those drivers.

Fortunately, many of these crashes happen at low speeds or while stopped, but some pileups happen at highway speeds.  Damage to vehicles can total up fast, and it is important to establish which party is at fault for the purposes of recouping the money necessary to repair your vehicle. The following are some of the most common causes of multi-car accidents that place fault on a specific party.

Drug Use

People who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol have slower reaction times and reduced judgment skills, increasing the likelihood of a mistake behind the wheel.

Phone Use

Any activity on a phone takes focus off the road, which violates a driver’s duty of care to their fellow drivers and passengers on the road.  Dangerous behavior such as swerving is particularly common in moderate traffic, where there is a higher chance that an accident will involve more than just one or two cars.

Weather Conditions

In situations where there are dangerous conditions such as heavy rain, fog, or icy surfaces, it is a driver’s responsibility to adjust their driving speed and behavior to account for the increased likelihood of unexpected accidents.

Vehicle Malfunctions

Vehicles can malfunction when you least expect it, causing unexpected swerves or stops.  While liability for some issues (such as a popped tire) are natural hazards of the road, many malfunctions can be blamed directly on a manufacturer for manufacturing mistakes or on the driver for failing to properly maintain the vehicle.

Third-Party Fault in Multi-Car Accidents in Florida

Multi-car accidents are often caused by a single culprit.  However, that culprit is not always one of the drivers.  Sometimes the government is responsible for dangerous road conditions.  Car manufacturers can also be held liable for malfunctioning parts.

If you are involved in a multi-car accident in Florida, it is possible that a party that wasn’t even behind the wheel could be responsible.  If you were injured in a multi-car accident, speak with one of the experienced Ft. Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Newman Injury Law.  We can help you investigate the factors involved in your accident and assess who may be liable for your damages.

Comparative Negligence Laws for Multi-Car Accidents in Florida

When multiple parties could be responsible for the harms that resulted from a multi-car accident, Florida courts will use a legal theory called pure comparative negligence to determine liability.  Pure comparative negligence requires the court to determine each party’s proportional share of responsibility for the accident and order compensation accordingly.

For example, if Driver A was involved in a multi-car accident that was entirely caused by Driver B, but Driver A wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, the court may rule that Driver A was 40% responsible for their own injuries.  Therefore, Driver A will only be able to recover 60% of the total damages from Driver B.

Negligence can also be divided among more than two parties.  For example, if four drivers each shared equal responsibility, the court could order 25% of the damages paid by each driver.  Assigning partial fault to multiple parties can be complex.

When assigning damages among multiple parties, the victim’s own negligence will always be a factor.  However, under Florida law, the victim’s negligence cannot be used to block the lawsuit.  In other states, courts block claims where the victim is 50% liable (or more than 50% liable), but Florida does not.  This means that even if you were 90% at fault for your own accident, you can still get damages for another driver’s 10% fault. If this happens to you or a loved one, contact an experienced Ft. Lauderdale car accident attorney today.

Get Help with Your Multi-Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida Today

We know that dealing with a car accident can be difficult and time-consuming.  Let the respected Miami car accident attorneys at Newman Injury Law help you file today.  Call 954-495-8500 for your free consultation.

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