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Multi-car crashes and how to establish fault

Multi-car crashes can be the fault of more than one driver, so determining liability can be difficult in these cases. Drivers in Minnesota should know the basics of determining liability, but it typically cannot be done without the help of crash investigators and police.

It starts with understanding the concept of negligence. Drivers who speed, follow another car too closely or use their phone behind the wheel are negligent and can be held liable for any crashes they cause. In the case of a multi-vehicle crash, it may happen where a negligent driver rear-ends one car that then rear-ends another. Driver A, who is at the front and receives the combined force of Drivers B and C, may file a claim against Driver C.

Of course, a lot depends on Driver B, the one in the middle. If he or she was also tailgating or breaking another traffic law, Driver A can name Driver B among the defendants. If Driver B was inadvertently forced into Driver A, then only Driver C can be held liable.

To prove negligence, the plaintiff may need to refer to the police report and to any eyewitness testimony, including the testimony of passers-by and passengers in the vehicles that crashed. Physical findings like skid marks and debris also help.

Victims of car crashes must first file a claim with their own insurance company since Minnesota is a no-fault insurance state. Pursuing a third-party insurance claim is limited to those cases involving a serious injury or disability. To see if their case qualifies, victims may see a lawyer, and if it does, the lawyer may get to work on establishing the defendant's guilt. Victims may leave it to their lawyer to negotiate for a fair settlement.

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