Texas Multiple Car Accidents Make For Complicated Liability

Chain reaction crashes occur when one car rear ends the car in front of it and the force of impact causes the hit car to rear end the car before it as well, causing a domino-like effect. A chain reaction crash may also involve vehicles behind the first car that rear-ended another if they are unable to stop or avoid the other car(s).

Chain reaction crashes can result in damage to several cars and injury to one or more involved parties. The ultimate result of a Texas car accident involving multiple vehicles is a tangle of liability claims that insurance companies must smooth out or that El Paso car accident attorneys must press on behalf of injured victims through civil action.


On an August afternoon in El Paso this summer, right at the beginning of the evening rush hour, seven cars were involved in a chain reaction crash that critically injured one passenger and totaled at least one vehicle.

To understand liability in a chain reaction crash like the one briefly described above, it is helpful to first understand how liability is determined in a single rear-end crash. In most rear-end crashes, the person who hits another car from behind is at fault, since it is the responsibility of all drivers to keep a safe stopping distance between them and the car in front of them.

Exceptions to the rear-end principle do exist, however, including when the hit car has stopped short for some reason. One reason may be that the hit car may have rear-ended the car in front of it, or perhaps rear-ending someone causes a driver to be hit him or herself.

In these scenarios, determining liability is more complicated than in a single rear-end crash. Insurance companies will examine police reports, witness statements and damage to each vehicle to determine who perpetrated the crash. Usually, monetary awards will be adjusted if a driver who is hit has some fault in the accident, including rear-ending another vehicle.

Sometimes, chain reaction crashes will result in civil and/or even criminal claims against the other drivers in a crash. This may occur if a driver is underinsured or uninsured, or if a monetary award was reduced when the insurance companies determined liability. Plaintiffs may sue for negligence on behalf of the driver that hit them, even if this negligence was inadvertent, as would be the case in a chain reaction crash, where the force of one car being hit causes another rear-end crash.

Determining liability in the event of chain reaction crashes can be complicated. Seeking the advice of an experienced Texas personal injury attorney can help drivers understand any monetary awards to which they may be entitled if they've been rear-ended, whether in a single- or multi-vehicle car crash.