Vehicles get into an accident on the road

Identifying Fault In A Multi-Vehicle Accident

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

Multi-vehicle accidents in Texas represent a significant concern for road safety. These accidents, often involving three or more vehicles, can occur for a variety of reasons, including high-speed collisions, poor weather conditions, and distracted driving. There are a  considerable number of such incidents annually in Texas. These accidents not only lead to traffic disruptions but also result in serious injuries and fatalities, highlighting the need for increased awareness and stricter adherence to road safety regulations. The complexity of multi-vehicle accidents poses challenges for emergency responders and investigators, who must work to determine the cause and the responsible parties.

Steps in Determining Fault In A Multi-Car Accident

  • Initial Assessment and Statements of Witnesses: The police officers arriving at the scene will create a report, including their initial assessment of fault. This report can be crucial to insurance and legal proceedings. The statements of witnesses should be taken to provide objective viewpoints that can be vital in reconstructing the accident and determining fault.
  • Investigation, Gathering Evidence and Analysis: Gathering evidence will include photos of the accident scene, skid marks, vehicle positions, and traffic signals. There should also be a vehicle damage analysis done because the extent and location of vehicle damage can indicate the accident dynamics and help pinpoint fault. Accident reconstruction experts may be brought in to analyze the evidence and provide a professional opinion on fault.
  • Legal Considerations and Understanding Laws Specific To Texas: Texas requires drivers to have liability insurance. The insurance companies will conduct their own investigations to determine fault. If there have been violations of traffic laws (for example, driving at an excessive speed, driving under the influence (DUI), or running a red light), these can be significant factors in determining fault.

The Modified Comparative Fault System is used in Texas to determine fault in accidents. It means that each driver can be assigned a percentage of fault, and their ability to recover damages is contingent upon their degree of fault. If a driver is found to be greater than 50% at fault, they cannot collect damages. 

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 33.001 states that a claimant’s recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault. If a claimant is 20% responsible for the accident, their recovery will be reduced by 20%. Investigators and attorneys will assess the contributions of each driver to the accident. As a result, in multi-car accidents, several drivers may share the fault, and this will be reflected in the damage compensation each receives. This is challenging though if there has been an accident involving a chain reaction of crashes since the fault determination is more complicated and each impact needs to be assessed. 

  • Insurance Company’s Role: An adjuster from the insurance company will review the evidence, police reports, and other data to determine their insured’s liability. Insurance companies will often negotiate settlements based on their fault determination. This can lead to disputes between different insurers. If there is a  disagreement on fault, it may be resolved through mediation, arbitration, or court proceedings.
  • Legal Proceedings: If a settlement cannot be reached, the parties may file a lawsuit.  This will involve gathering more evidence, depositions, and expert testimonies. A judge or jury will examine the evidence and determine fault and damages.


Determining fault in multi-car accidents in Texas involves investigative, insurance and legal elements. Each case is unique and requires a thorough examination of all of the evidence and circumstances. Understanding the law in Texas and the role of the various parties involved is crucial in navigating these complex situations. Contact Ceja Law Firm, PLLC for an initial complimentary consultation.  We will help you understand the law surrounding your accident involving multiple vehicles and make sure your rights are protected.

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.