Whether California residents have ever been involved in a car accident, they can probably guess that determining fault after an accident is not always easy. This is especially the case when three or more vehicles are involved. There may be a series of rear-end collisions, for example, and it may all be caused by one driver. Or the accident may have been exacerbated by the negligence of others in that chain of cars.

The legal concept of negligence must be a factor in multi-vehicle crashes because it makes it clear who can file a claim against whom. Let’s say there was a crash involving three drivers. Driver A at the front is rear-ended by a tailgating Driver B after braking to avoid danger. Driver C, who is also tailgating, speeding or breaking the law in some other way, rear-ends Driver B, adding to the force of the impact against Driver A.

But perhaps Driver B was not being negligent, in which case Driver C forced Driver B to hit Driver A. In this scenario, Driver A can only hold Driver C responsible. To back up a claim, there must be sufficient evidence, and this can usually be built up through the help of a lawyer and investigators.

Those who intend to pursue a personal injury case may want to consult a lawyer. An attorney’s network of third parties may obtain a copy of the police report and gather other important evidence, like eyewitness testimony and debris from the crash site. A lawyer may then negotiate with the defendant’s auto insurance company for a settlement covering all losses, including medical expenses, vehicle repair costs and income lost during his or her physical recovery. If these negotiations fail, then victims may decide to go ahead with litigation.