What are Legal Liabilities in Multi Vehicle Accident?

Post By Corey Heit

Following any kind of car accident, there are going to be questions about who is liable for the accident itself and what that liability means in terms of an individual who is seeking compensation from the responsible party. Responsible parties may include a driver, a parts manufacturer, or even potentially the city where the accident took place.

Determining liability is a complex issue in a car accident, and even more so in a car accident where multiple vehicles are involved. When three or more motor vehicles are involved, figuring out liability can quickly seem like an overwhelming process – especially the more vehicles and parties that figure into the accident.

Below, we take a look at what the legal liabilities in an accident are and who will be held liable in case of collision.

What are Legal Liabilities in a Multi-Vehicle Accident?

From January 2018 to July 2023, the state of Ohio had seen a grand total of 1,504,420 car crashes throughout the entire state, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. These crashes result in a number of injuries, that range from nonfatal injuries to lethal. And while we do not know how many of these crashes were multi-vehicle accidents, it is fair to estimate that many of them did involve multiple vehicles.

So, that brings us to what are legal liabilities in an accident where multiple vehicles are involved.

The legal liabilities of any liable parties will be very similar to the legal liabilities in any other type of car accident.

Legal liabilities that a party might be responsible for in a multi-vehicle accident include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death damages such as burial and funeral expenses in cases of wrongful death

In multi-vehicle accidents, negligence will need to be proven by anyone who is seeking compensation from the liable party or parties. Proving negligence in an accident with multiple vehicles will involve proving the following:

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty of care was the cause of your injuries and losses.
  4. You suffered damages (i.e., injuries and losses) as a result of the defendant’s breach.

If you have questions about proving liability in relation to the accident you have been part of, we always recommend scheduling a consultation with our Columbus multi-vehicle accident lawyer.

What is Vicarious Liability in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Vicarious liability is essentially when the owner of a vehicle is held responsible for the damage that someone else causes when they were driving the owner’s vehicle. This type of liability may apply to certain situations such as when a driver loans their car to a friend, when a company hires a driver to operate their vehicles, and even in certain scenarios where an accident may have involved a defective vehicle.

Vicarious liability will not apply to every multi-vehicle accident, but it may apply in certain circumstances.

Who Will be Held Liable in Case of Collision?

Determining liability in a multi-vehicle accident can be a complex task. One accident may have only one at-fault driver while another may include three at-fault drivers. Factors that go into determining the number of liable drivers include details of the accident, eyewitness statements, and photo and video evidence.

Potential parties that could be found liable in a multi-vehicle accident include:

  • A negligent driver
  • The owner of a vehicle
  • Employer of a driver who is found to be negligent
  • A distracted pedestrian
  • The manufacturer of a defective part
  • The owner of the premises where the accident happened if hazardous conditions contributed to the accident

This is not a fully comprehensive list of potential parties who may be held liable in cases of collision, but it does show us that there are a number of parties who may be found liable. One or more of the parties mentioned above may be held liable at once.

And in cases of large pileup accidents, multiple vehicle drivers may be found to be partially at fault.

Connect with a Columbus Multi-Vehicle Accident Lawyer

The aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident can leave you with many questions, including what we explored above. Multi-vehicle accidents have proven to be complicated and stressful across the board for anyone involved. You may be left dealing with unexpected injuries that require immediate medical attention or even long-term care.

And because multi-vehicle accidents involve several parties, ranging from the liable parties to individuals who have been injured, the legal process following the accident can run longer than usual. But this is where working with a Columbus multi-vehicle accident lawyer comes in.

Corey Heit, founder and experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer of Heit Law, LLC, has dedicated his entire practice to helping injured victims. He brings expertise in the relevant laws that will apply to your case to the table and wants you to be able to focus on your recovery following the accident.

To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation, please reach out by phone at 614-898-5300 or connect with us by email or our online contact form.

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