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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who Is at Fault in a Multi-car Accident in Indiana? | How Chain Reaction Crashes Happen!

Determining fault in any accident can be challenging. However, it can become impossible to identify the liable parties in a multi-vehicle crash without legal representation. Who is liable when three or more cars collide? What happens when multiple drivers are responsible for the incident?

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have decades of combined experience protecting the rights of injured victims and ensuring that they get the justice and compensation they deserve. They have a deep understanding of the law and know how to determine liability in a multi-vehicle accident.

Injured multi-car accident victims in Indianapolis, Indiana, should reach out to Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options.

Types of Multi-car Accidents in Indiana

Types of Multi-car Accidents in Indiana

There are many different types of multi-vehicle accidents, and some of them include the following:

Head-on Car Accidents

A head-on car accident is a crash where the front of the vehicle collides with another. This type of collision typically occurs when an automobile swerves into the wrong lane, or a car is heading in the opposite direction.

Side-impact Car Accidents

Side-impact car crashes occur when one automobile smashes into the side of one or multiple vehicles. This is often common at intersections, where drivers fail to yield the right of way or run a red light, resulting in a chain reaction accident.

Rear-end Car Accidents

When a motor vehicle suddenly stops or brakes on a busy road, it could cause the rear car to crash into the automobile in the front. This type of collision can lead to a chain reaction, with many drivers rear-ending those ahead of them.

Pile-up Car Accidents

A pile-up car accident is a severe motor vehicle crash involving multiple vehicles crushed or stacked together due to the force of the impact. It could happen due to adverse weather conditions (excessive snow or ice) or negligent drivers.

Pile-up accidents often involve a jack-knifed truck or a large motor vehicle that blocks the road for other drivers, causing them to crash into an out-of-control automobile. The consequences can be catastrophic, as this type of multiple-car accident can lead to uncontrollable fires or explosions, resulting in injuries and even death.

Common Causes of Multiple-car Accidents

The 2021 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report revealed that fatal multiple-vehicle accidents increased by 16%. 

While negligence is often the cause of these types of accidents, here are some of the most common contributing factors in these types of collisions:

Harsh Weather Conditions

In extreme weather conditions like ice and snow, it can be challenging for drivers to maintain control of their motor vehicles. One wrong move could lead to a multiple-vehicle accident.

Inexperienced motorists should avoid leaving their homes during adverse weather conditions or drive at slow speeds while maintaining a safe following distance. These defensive techniques allow the driver enough time to swerve or brake and avoid a multi-vehicle car accident.

Poor Road Conditions

When the government fails to maintain the roads in good condition, it can lead to debris, rocks, and other hazards. Poorly maintained infrastructure can increase the risk of multi-vehicle accidents.


NHTSA revealed that 30% of all traffic-related fatalities between 2004 and 2018 occurred due to drunk driving.

Intoxicated driving can increase the risk of a multi-car accident, as alcohol impairs a driver's ability to drive safely. It can also adversely impact the motorist's judgment, causing them to make hard turns or exceed the speed limit.

Reckless Driving

In 2020, the NHTSA revealed that distracted driving (a form of reckless driving) killed 3,142 people in the United States.

Reckless drivers, often young and inexperienced motorists, drive their vehicles fast and make dangerous decisions, exponentially increasing the risk of a multi-car accident.

Who Is at Fault in a Multi-car Accident in Indiana?

The party responsible for a multi-vehicle car accident depends on the type of collision. In some cases, there may be more than one driver liable for the damages caused.

It's important to understand that the fault in a multi-car accident often lies with the party that acts negligently. This may vary from one motor vehicle crash to another.

Here are a few different scenarios involving a multi-car accident and the potentially liable parties:

Fault in a Rear-end Multi-car Accident

Rear-end multi-car accidents are the most common types of multi-vehicle crashes. One automobile slamming into the back of another vehicle can set off a chain reaction, causing the car in the front to crash into the vehicles up ahead.

In rear-end accidents, it is often the following driver that rear-ends the vehicle in front of them. Traffic laws require all road users to keep their eyes on the road and maintain a safe following distance.

When a vehicle is traveling closely behind another car, the rear-end driver may not have enough time to swerve and avoid a collision if the automobile in the front brakes. This is why the motorist in the back is often liable for damages caused in a rear-end crash.

Fault in a Chain Reaction Accident

Determining fault in a chain reaction accident without conducting a proper investigation is often challenging. In such situations, the insurance company or an experienced attorney will keep the state rules in mind when identifying the liable party. They can also explain who is at fault in an intersection car accident in Indiana.

A chain reaction accident could have more than one party responsible for the crash. Suppose the lead car brakes to slow down, but the vehicle behind it is following closely and crashes into the first automobile. The third motor vehicle comes to a halt in time, but the fourth car crashes into it, setting off a chain reaction accident.

In such a situation, more than one party may be liable for the damages caused in the multi-car crash. The drivers of the second and fourth vehicles may be responsible, as they fail to maintain a safe following distance, resulting in a chain reaction accident.

When these types of accidents happen, injured victims often lose out on compensation, as they fail to identify all of the parties liable for the incident. 

Since this can be extremely confusing to navigate, it's best to reach out to experienced vehicle accident attorneys in Indianapolis to help determine the at-fault drivers.

A skilled multi-vehicle accident attorney will examine the damages caused to all of the cars involved in the incident. They may consider the timing of the crashes and other physical evidence gathered from CCTV cameras, the accident scene, and witnesses to determine the at-fault parties.

Fault in a Head-on Multiple Vehicle Crash

In a head-on multi-vehicle accident, the driver that swerves into the opposite lane with the oncoming cars is often at fault. However, there may be some situations where another person may be liable. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can advise who is at fault in a head-on car accident in Indiana.

Suppose two vehicles are traveling in the same direction, and one of the drivers sideswipes the other, causing the second motorist to swerve into oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the road.

In such situations, it is not the driver of the car that crashes into the other motor vehicles but the one that executes the sideswipe maneuver.

Fault in a Multi-car Accident at an Intersection

Running a red light, making a left turn, or failing to yield the right of way are the most common causes of intersection multi-car accidents. The driver in the car making a left turn may collide with another motor vehicle, causing one of the two automobiles to smash into other cars.

One or multiple drivers could be liable for an intersection multi-vehicle accident. It's important to assess who had the right of way or whether or not the parties involved in the incident followed the traffic rules. This can help determine the people responsible for the crash.

Suppose a car runs a red light and crashes into another vehicle, causing the third automobile to come to a halt. However, the driver of the fourth motor vehicle fails to stop in time, smashing into the car in front of them.

In the above-mentioned scenario, the driver of a car that violates the traffic rules (running a red light) will be liable. Also, the fourth motorist that crashes into the third motor vehicle may also share some responsibility.

Fault in a Lane-change Multi-car Accident

When a driver is looking to change a lane, it's crucial that they either slow down to let the vehicle in the other lane pass or speed up before executing the maneuver. If a motorist clips another car, causing it to smash into other motor vehicles, they may be liable for the damages caused.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help the Injured Victims of Multiple Car Accidents Determine Fault in Indiana?

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help the Injured Victims of Multiple Car Accidents Determine Fault in Indiana?

An experienced car accident lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help the injured victims determine fault in many ways, some of which include the following:

  • The legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has enough resources to conduct a proper investigation into the accident, which can help reveal the at-fault driver.

  • When Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys take on a case, they immediately start collecting evidence, including dashcam footage, video recordings from CCTV cameras, and photographs of the damaged motor vehicles.

  • There may be witnesses at the accident scene. By reaching out to them, the lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can put all of the evidence together to determine the at-fault driver.

  • Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have access to accident reconstruction specialists who provide their expertise in identifying the contributing factor of the multi-car accident by recreating the events leading up to the crash.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Are Ready to Hold the Other Driver Accountable!

Those who have suffered injuries in a multiple-car accident in Indianapolis, Indiana, should call to schedule a free consultation with the experienced Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can help injured victims by assessing the facts surrounding their case and ensure justice by aggressively fighting for the compensation they deserve!


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