John Kelly is Phoenix car accident attorney and answers questions asked online. More information can be found at http://www.jkphoenixpersonalinjuryattorney.com/auto-accident.
In this Google hangout he explains from a legal perspective, who is at fault in a multiple car accident and how fault is determined. 0:32
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– I wanted to address multi-car accidents. Typically when we see a multi-car accident, It’s a situation where someone was rear-ended, and they were pushed into a third vehicle. The first person rear-ended them, they then had no choice to be pushed into a third vehicle. And sometimes it even goes to a fourth vehicle, and there’s any number of variances here, but that’s the most common situation that we see. As far as fault goes, if you’re the middle vehicle, and you’re rear-ended, and you’re pushed into another vehicle, you’re not typically gonna be held responsible for the last person that you rear-ended. The person who’s gonna be held at fault for the complete accident, typically, is gonna be the driver who was the initial person to rear-end the vehicle. The problem that becomes, is that there’s liability insurance for the person that hit the first vehicle that has to be shared between all parties that have injured people in them. So the middle vehicle may have injured people, and the last vehicle that was rear-ended may have injured people, and they’re all looking towards the person who started the accident. If that person has a minimal limits policy which, in Arizona, is a $15,000/$30,000 policy, what that means is that one party can get no more than $15,000, and all parties injured in the accident that were caused by that person, can not get more than $30,000 combined. And that $30,000 has to be apportioned to all injured parties. If the middle vehicle may have half of that and get 15, and the other vehicle may have the other half and get 15, that may not compensate them for the full amount of their injuries. What people then do, is they look to their own policy, and that’s why it’s important in your auto policy to make sure that you have uninsured or under insured motorist policy coverage. It’s a monthly premium payment that you pay that allows you to go back to your own insurance company and say, “Look, I was injured in an accident, “we already extinguished the policy that was the cause “of the accident, that person already paid us their portion “of what that policy is, I’m still injured and have bills, “I need to go back to you “and get the remainder of my “compensation.” So it’s important to make sure that you have that in your policy, uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, to make sure that you’re covered in a situation where there is a multi-car accident.