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Liability in Multiple Vehicle Accidents

Who is at-fault when a pileup happens on a Georgia highway?

Multiple vehicle accidents are responsible for nearly 60 percent of all car accident related fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  Multi-car pileups can happen in just seconds.  One negligent driver can trigger a chain crash involving cars, trucks, motorcyclists, and others.  In Bartow County, Georgia, a recent chain reaction crash involving 20 vehicles happened on I-75.  Ten people were injured, and the accident all started with a single vehicle that spun out due to heavy rain.  Multiple vehicle accidents can raise complex liability issues that require thorough investigations.

Causes of Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Pileups can have many causes, with some of the most common including:

  • Speeding: Cars or trucks traveling at high rates of speed may find themselves unable to slow or stop in order to prevent an accident.  If a speeding car hits another vehicle, it could start a chain reaction accident.
  • Failure to maintain a safe following distance:  Vehicles that follow too closely are a prime cause of multiple vehicle accidents.  When the lead car slows or stops, any car following too closely could ram the car in front, and other vehicles may subsequently crash.
  • Distracted driving:  Drivers who text, talk on the phone, eat, daydream, or otherwise fail to pay attention to the road ahead can rapidly set off a chain reaction accident when they fail to slow or stop in response to traffic patterns.

Fault in Multi-Car Pileups

Due to the number of vehicles involved, multiple vehicle accidents raise complicated liability questions.  Insurance companies will generally investigate these accidents thoroughly because pileups are likely to involve high payouts and it can be difficult to assign blame among the vehicles involved.  To determine fault, it will be necessary to examine the behavior of each driver and any environmental factors that may have contributed to the crash.  Investigations will include:

  • Interviews with drivers, passengers, and any witnesses;
  • Photographs of the accident scene and damage to each vehicle;
  • Review of each driver’s driving record; and
  • Footage from highway cameras


Multiple vehicle accidents will often involve several defendants with multiple parties sharing a degree of fault for the accident.  Georgia’s modified comparative negligence statute will allow accident victims to recover even if they were partially at fault for the accident.  If you have been injured in a pileup accident, you will need an experienced car accident lawyer to closely investigate and research the collision.

Posted in: Automobile Wrecks