multiple cars in an accident
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By Pejman Javaheri
Founding Partner

California law assigns liability to the driver who caused the collision through negligence, but how do you sort our liability when there is a crash that involves multiple vehicles? The short answer is that the vehicle that caused the initial collision will bear the blame for the entire accident.

This blog will discuss the issues of liability and damages in these complicated situations. You will want to talk to a Los Angeles car accident attorney about who is responsible for a multi-vehicle accident and how to pursue a claim for compensation.

Multiple Vehicle Crashes

Most car accidents involve only one or two vehicles, so the issue of fault is usually rather straightforward. The driver who broke a traffic regulation and caused the crash is at fault. Let’s say that a driver ran a red light and slammed into another driver who was in the intersection legally. The driver who ran the red light is the at-fault driver.

Crashes that involve more than two vehicles can be more challenging to analyze. For example, a distracted driver (Driver A) did not notice that traffic had slowed for road construction, and they plowed into the back of the vehicle in front of them (Driver B). The force of the collision sent the car of Driver B into the back of the car in front of them (Driver C). 

In California, Driver A would be liable for the damages of Drive B and Driver C. Even though Driver A’s car did not touch the car of Driver C, Driver A’s negligence started the chain reaction that resulted in the three-car crash. 

Sometimes, however, more than one driver can be at fault for causing a collision. When the negligence of two drivers combines to cause an accident, both drivers can be liable. In the rear-end collision scenario above, however, the actions of only one driver caused the accident.  

How to Establish Liability

It is extremely important that you do not get charged with fault in an accident that was not caused by your negligence. The at-fault driver’s automobile insurance company might tell you, incorrectly, that you have to pay the damages of another driver in a chain-reaction crash that you did not cause. 

California law says that you are only legally accountable for the injuries of another party if you were negligent, and your negligence caused the accident that harmed them. Merely being at the wrong place at the wrong time and getting caught up in a chain-reaction crash that someone else caused does not make you liable.

Recoverable Damages After Getting Injured in a Multi-Vehicle Collision

After establishing the liability of the at-fault driver in a multi-vehicle accident, you could seek compensation from them for your damages, which can include:

  • Lost wages for income you missed when you could not work while recuperating.
  • Medical expenses for the treatment of your wounds.
  • Pain and suffering for the emotional distress and physical discomfort you experienced from the accident and your injuries.

You can talk to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney about other monetary damages that might be recoverable in your situation. We are happy to offer a free case review with no obligation. Contact our office today for help with your case.

About the Author
P.J. Javaheri is an experienced personal injury attorney and a founding partner of Mi Abogado. Mr. Javaheri received his Juris Degree from the University of California, Hastings in 2005. Mr. Javaheri is dedicated to serving clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. His practice focuses on the area of personal injury law, particularly in representing people who have been injured in car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents, the practice also specializes in premises liability matters. In recognition of his skills and dedication to his vocation, Javaheri has been named on the California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Mr. Javaheri is also active in the Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.  In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Mr. Javaheri was honored with appointments to the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Charities (LATLC) Honorary Board of Directors at its highest level; the Diamond Level. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Mr. Javaheri at 310.694.3084 or by emailing