Determining Fault In A Multi-Vehicle Truck Accident (Understanding California’s Comparative Negligent Doctrine)

California is home to traffic congestion and multi-vehicle accidents. Often, pile-up multi-vehicle crashes on California’s highways and freeways involve big trucks. More often than not, these crashes are so devastating that authorities have to close several or all lanes on the highway or freeway.
A truck is more likely to cause a multi-vehicle accident than any other vehicle. That is because when a truck crashes into something, overturns, or jackknifes, it affects a much larger area on the road, and therefore, a larger number of vehicles. Multi-vehicle accidents are usually the most devastating ones, leaving multiple people severely injured and even dead.
Did You Know? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 80 percent of fatal accidents involving large trucks are multi-vehicle crashes.

Determining liability in a multi-vehicle crash involving trucks

It goes without saying that it is much more difficult to determine fault and liability in a multi-vehicle crash involving a truck compared to one-vehicle or two-vehicle accidents in California because they involve more parties.
“Assigning responsibility in a multi-vehicle collision is complicated and takes a while even for an experienced lawyer, and more often than not, requires litigation to establish the cause of the crash and determine the level of negligence of each party involved,” says our Los Angeles truck accident attorney at the Compass Law Group, LLP

Causes of multi-vehicle accidents with trucks in California

In multi-vehicle accidents involving trucks, there can be multiple factors that contributed to the crash, including but not limited to:

  • Following too closely;
  • Failure to check blind spots;
  • Traveling at a speed above the state limit;
  • Running red lights;
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Changing lanes too rapidly and/or without signaling;
  • Defective brakes;
  • Poor road conditions;
  • Poor weather conditions;
  • Drowsy driving (truck drivers usually sacrifice sleep for longer driving hours, which is a common cause of truck crashes in California);
  • Failure to maintain and inspect the truck and its trailers prior to embarking on the trip.

Comparative fault and multi-vehicle accidents in California

Let’s also not forget that California uses the comparative fault doctrine when it comes to assigning fault and determining liability in car accidents and truck accidents in the state. Our skilled truck accident attorney from the leading Los Angeles law firm explains that under the “comparative fault” standard, one or more parties can seek financial compensation corresponding to their degree of fault in the accident.
If an investigation found that you were 21 percent at fault for the truck accident, your compensation will be reduced by 21 percent. Unless, however, your lawyer can appeal the decision and find evidence proving that you were not at fault at all or were at fault to a lesser degree.

Let our Los Angeles truck accident attorney help you

When assigning responsibility in a multi-vehicle accident in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, the judge will have to determine which party contributed to the crash “substantially.” Our Los Angeles truck accident attorney explains that the “substantial factor” does not exclude other causes contributing to the collision.
Establishing the “substantial factor” is vital in order to determine what damages will be covered in the settlement. Thus, the responsibility of the driver who contributed to the crash “substantially” includes other parties’ loss of income, medical bills, as well as loss of earning capacity, among other things.
The amount of your settlement or verdict in a multi-vehicle accident depends on the expertise and legal prowess of your truck accident lawyer. Let our attorneys from the Compass Law Group, LLP, be by your side to negotiate with insurance companies (trust me, there will be plenty of them trying to reach out after a multi-vehicle crash), conduct an unbiased investigation, have experts reconstruct the accident, and handle all legal aspects of your complicated case.


Find out if you have a case in a few minutes, call us at (310) 289-7126

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