Determining Liability in a Multi-Car Crash

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle January 04 2022 4:06 pm

Determining Liability in a Multi-Car Crash

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle January 04 2022 4:06 pm
Determining Liability in a Multi-Car Crash

In every car accident case, the main issue is determining who was at fault in causing the accident. The person who is determined to be at fault may then be held liable for the other person’s injuries and other losses. While this sounds relatively straightforward, determining liability is often a complex analysis requiring a careful examination of the facts and knowledge of the underlying legal issues. This becomes even more complicated when the accident involves more than two vehicles. 

Determining who is at fault in a multi-car crash is extremely difficult for non-lawyers. If you’ve been injured in a multi-car crash and need help, contact the Kansas personal injury attorney at Pyle Law .

Common Types of Multi-Car Crashes

Multi-car accidents can happen almost everywhere, but here are some of the most common scenarios where multi-car accidents occur:

  • Rear-end collisions. The first car is unable to stop and rear-ends another vehicle, which hits a third and so on. 
  • Intersection accidents. Car accidents that occur in intersections often involve multiple vehicles because you have vehicles coming together in multiple directions of travel. 
  • Highway accidents. Highway accidents often involve more than two vehicles due to the high speeds involved. 

Who Was Injured by Who? Who is at Fault for Who’s Injuries?

It’s often the case that there is more than one person at fault in a multi-vehicle accident. For example, the first car to rear-end the car in front of them started the accident, but the second car was tailgating the third and therefore could not avoid the accident in time. In this scenario, the first driver may be responsible for the accident involving the second car but is not entirely at fault for the accident involving the third vehicle. If the second driver was seriously injured, can they recover compensation from the first driver if they were partially to blame for the accident involving the third driver? 

Comparative Negligence Under Kansas Law

Determining who is at fault and how much their negligence contributed to the accident is probably the most complicated aspect of a multi-vehicle accident case. Under prior law, anyone who was partially at fault for an accident was barred from recovering any compensation for their injuries. Because this rule was deemed to be too harsh, many states adopted a “comparative negligence” standard, including Kansas. Under Kansas law, you can still recover compensation if you were 49% or less responsible for the accident, but your compensation will be reduced according to your share of responsibility for the accident. 

For example, let’s say that you were involved in an intersection accident. The other driver ran a red light, but you were making an illegal turn. Ultimately, the jury decides that your illegal turn contributed 20% to the accident. In determining your compensation award, therefore, the jury would calculate your total damages, and then reduce them by 20%. If, on the other hand, you were the driver who ran the red light, you would not be entitled to anything since you were 80% responsible for the accident. The analysis for an accident involving three or more vehicles is the same and must be performed for each person asserting a claim

Injured in a Multi-Car Crash? Contact the Personal Injury Attorney at Pyle Law

Multi-vehicle accidents are complex. If you’ve been injured and are suffering, you need an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to sort through the facts and issues and help you get the compensation you need. Let us help you put our life back together – schedule a free consultation with our Kansas personal injury attorney by calling (888) 381-1155 (toll-free) or (620) 241-9000 today. 

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Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.