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Multi-vehicle crashes and how to determine fault

Determining fault in the wake of a car crash in New Jersey can be difficult, especially when three or more vehicles were involved. However, most multi-vehicle crashes are simply a series of rear-end collisions, in which case the reasoning will be as follows.

In an example case, Driver A at the front is obeying all the traffic laws but is rear-ended by Driver B, who was speeding, following too closely to Driver A or violating traffic laws in some other way. The impact may be intensified by the fact that Driver B is also rear-ended by a Driver C. If Driver C was also tailgating or being negligent in another way, then Driver A may hold both Drivers B and C responsible. Even Driver B could file a claim against Driver C as long as his or her degree of fault is less than Driver C's.

There are times when the middle driver is not to blame. Driver C may initiate the crash, sending a blameless Driver B careening into Driver A. Driver A would file a claim against Driver C, then, unless there was a negligent Driver D who was involved. As for gathering evidence for a claim, this may be done with legal assistance. Investigators may gather the physical findings at the crash site like vehicle debris and skid marks.

When car crashes are clearly the result of negligence, then those who were not to blame may be able to file a third-party insurance claim. New Jersey being a no-fault state, there are limitations on who can file such a claim, so victims may want to schedule a legal consultation. If retained, the lawyer may assist with gathering proof and with negotiations. If a settlement cannot be achieved out of court, then victims may decide to litigate.

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