How Is Fault Determined In A Multi-Car Accident – 2024 Guide

Traffic accidents happen so quickly and unpredictably that it is almost impossible to initially prove who was to blame, especially if there are no witnesses at the moment. Of course, during the investigation, things become much clearer. In cases where there are multiple participants in the accident, it is sometimes really difficult to prove guilt. This requires a more extensive investigation, witnesses, statements, medical and expert opinions, and so on.

Multi-car accidents are those accidents where there are at least three vehicles involved, no matter what type they are. They often occur at intersections and major roads where traffic is heavier. They can be chain collisions, also known as carnage, but they can also happen when the speed regulations and the set signs are not followed, and after a collision of two cars, others who did not adjust their speed can wreck as well.

You can read more about this topic, so you can theoretically know what you need to do in the case of this type of crash, no matter if you are a witness or a part of it.

We won’t lie – it’s really difficult to determine who is guilty in this case


When we have a car crash one behind the other, the culprit is usually the one who is second in this pile. They usually move at a speed higher than the prescribed speed and hit a vehicle that is moving at a slower speed or is standing on a red or pedestrian crossing. The car that is the first in the car crash has an insight into the conditions ahead on the road and accordingly moves at an adjusted speed. But sometimes some drivers can be really impatient and think that they will get there faster if they break the speed limit.

The chain reaction accident

As you know, multiple car accidents occur as chain reactions and most often it is when the traffic light is red or when someone stops at a pedestrian crossing, but they will not assess the situation behind it.

Although it is easy to explain, it is a really serious accident that can often end in human casualties and huge material damage. But there is an advantage that the culprit can not easily escape, such as in a direct collision or hitting a pedestrian. In fact, the one who is most trapped in that pile is to blame for the accident.

How is someone’s guilt proven?


Sometimes it is necessary to conduct a broader investigation to determine which of the traffic participants did not follow the rules and is to blame for the accident. In such a case, it is necessary to request surveillance camera footage with an order, if any. Then, the damage to the vehicles is assessed. True forensics can determine who committed the offense, according to the degree of damage and other important parameters. Material evidence is collected at the scene of the accident, which is then used in the investigation. Finally, it is assessed whether the accident caused damage to nearby buildings or whether a bystander may have been injured or affected by the event.

The following factors should be taken into account:

  • The evidence and how they are distributed at the scene of the accident, how much is their damage, and what is their position in relation to the event.
  • Eyewitness accounts, because that way much more detailed information about the accident can be obtained.
  • Take into account the road conditions, because in rain or snow, visibility is reduced, and environmental conditions can be an additional problem.
  • Were the posted signs and markings on the road respected?
  • Did any of the drivers commit a traffic violation that led to the accident?

The answers to these questions can tell a lot about the accident and will help the police determine who was guilty of the crash.

An extensive investigation is needed to prove someone’s guilt


The police and the inspectors who will go out on the field will have a lot of work to determine exactly what happened, just by watching the event. But at the same time, the injured parties should be helped, witnesses should be sought or surveillance camera footage collected. No one’s guilt can be proven at the scene unless it is obvious. Every accident is different and we can not be guided by previous experience without conducting an investigation.

Also, the type of accident can reveal the culprit in one way or another:

  • Chain reaction accident – usually the person who did not adjust the speed or braked abruptly without warning or signaling to other participants. Although in many cases it is the second car in a row, sometimes the error can be in the lead vehicle, and everything else is a consequence. It can also happen that the problem is in the third or fourth round or it is a heavier vehicle that will hit and move the vehicles in front of it.
  • Collision – in such an accident, one offense contributes to more vehicles being part of the collision. This can be a consequence of not following the lane, getting out of the lane, obstructing the path of a vehicle coming from the opposite direction, or causing a stop in heavy traffic jams.
  • Intersection accident – improper turning, disregard for road conditions, as well as impatience with huge traffic jams. The culprit is certainly the one who tries to break the rules, although that does not mean that the other participants are not guilty of anything.

Eventually, the investigation will determine who was to blame for the accident. In that process, witnesses, participants, their co-drivers will be questioned, the circumstances of the road will be examined and mitigating factors will be taken into account. Hopefully, the culprit will be held accountable according to the laws – and this is probably all you need to know on this topic.