Who Pays for Damages in a 3-Way Car Accident?
After a car accident, the question of liability almost always appears. Under Colorado’s fault insurance system, the person responsible for the accident must pay for the damages of the victims. Before you can file a lawsuit or insurance claim, you will need to determine which driver is liable.
Investigating an accident involving two drivers is simple. If you are in a collision involving three or more vehicles, however, identifying the at-fault driver becomes more difficult. You will need to conduct an investigation into the actions of all drivers, and if more than one person is responsible, additional rules apply.
Establishing Fault in a Car Accident Claim
Since Colorado is a fault insurance state, you have three options to secure compensation after an accident. You can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver or under your policy, if you have the appropriate coverage. You can also file a lawsuit against the responsible driver in civil court. If successful, you will receive a settlement for your damages at the conclusion of each process.
To prove your right to compensation, you will need to establish that the other driver is at-fault for the accident. This involves gathering enough evidence to prove four important elements.
- The driver owed you a duty of care to follow traffic laws.
- The driver breached this duty of care in some way.
- The breach of duty directly caused the accident.
- You suffered damages in the accident.
Investigating a 3-Way Car Accident
Before you can file your claim, you will need to establish whose actions violated the duty of care and led to an accident. A car accident attorney can help you investigate the accident and determine who is responsible. Although 3-way car accidents are more complex than
You and your lawyer will review evidence such as surveillance footage, medical records, witness testimony, and police reports to piece the stages of the accident together. Your attorney may also connect with expert witnesses to help the investigation, such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals.
The goal of this investigation is to gather enough evidence to establish the liability of at least one of the drivers. The at-fault driver will be the person you hold accountable in your claim and whose insurance company must pay for your damages.
What If More Than One Driver Is Liable?
In some 3-way accident cases, multiple drivers may be responsible for the accident. If you are not one of these drivers, each at-fault party will share the fault for causing the crash. You may be eligible to file a claim against both drivers for your damages, and the court will assign a percentage of fault to each defendant. The at-fault drivers will each pay their portion of your settlement.
If you are also partially responsible for the accident, however, different rules apply. Colorado follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which will deduct your portion of the liability from your settlement. If you are 50% or more responsible for the accident, you will not be eligible to collect compensation at all.
Questions of liability are very complex in accidents involving multiple vehicles. To ensure you hold the correct party responsible and understand your rights throughout the process, speak to an attorney as soon as possible.