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Determining fault in multi-vehicle crashes

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that there were over 370,000 car crashes in the state of New York in 2022 and some of those were multi-vehicle crashes. Navigating New York’s bustling streets and highways comes with a higher probability of encountering multi-vehicle crashes.

These accidents can involve three or more vehicles and often result in complex situations where fault is not easily determined. If you find yourself in the middle of such chaos, it is essential to understand how fault works in New York state. New York follows a comparative negligence system, which means that each driver involved could bear some percentage of the fault, affecting the recovery of damages.

The role of evidence

Collect evidence immediately after the accident, if you can do so safely. Take photographs of all vehicles involved from different angles, showing the points of impact and the overall scene, including traffic signals and signs. This evidence can help reconstruct the events leading to the accident and establish the sequence of impacts. Exchange information with all parties involved and note the details of the accident, such as the time, location and weather conditions.

Cooperation with the police and insurance companies

Provide a clear and detailed account of the crash to the police when they arrive. A police report provides an official record of the accident and includes the officer’s assessment, which insurance companies use during their investigations. When you talk to your insurance company, provide all the evidence you have collected and any notes you have made about the accident.

The influence of New York’s laws

New York’s traffic laws will significantly influence the determination of fault in a multi-vehicle crash. For instance, if a car behind you fails to stop, causing a rear-end collision that pushes your vehicle into another, that driver may hold the majority of the fault. However, if your brake lights were out, you might also share responsibility for the accident.

By understanding how the police determine fault in a multi-vehicle crash, you help ensure a fair assessment of the incident. Remember, in the bustling traffic of New York, staying alert and informed is your best defense on the road.