In the realm of auto accidents, multiple-vehicle crashes present unique complexities that can significantly complicate the process of securing just compensation for injury victims. In Missouri and Kansas, these accidents often entail a chaotic scene of damaged vehicles, injured drivers and passengers, and a whirlwind of questions about who is responsible for the incident.

Multiple-vehicle accidents, also known as pile-ups or chain-reaction crashes, commonly occur on high-speed roads or highways. They often result from a series of rear-end collisions, side-swipes, or head-on impacts, and can involve several vehicles. These incidents are generally more serious than two-car accidents due to multiple impacts and the increased likelihood of severe injuries or fatalities.

Our Kansas City car accident attorney knows that one of the challenges in a multi-vehicle accident claim or lawsuit is determining who is liable for causing the crash. Proving liability can be complicated in any car crash, but it can be especially so in a collision with multiple vehicles.  

liability in multiple car crashes kansas city

If you were injured in a multiple vehicle crash in Kansas or Missouri, we are here to help.  Contact our personal injury law firm for a free consultation at 816-203-0143. We have offices in Kansas City, Missouri and Overland Park, Kansas and serve clients throughout both states.

Factors Contributing to Multiple-Vehicle Accidents in Missouri & Kansas

Many factors may contribute to causing a multi-vehicle accident, including:

  • Weather Conditions: Inclement weather conditions such as rain, snow, fog, or ice can significantly reduce visibility and cause hazardous driving conditions, often leading to multiple-vehicle crashes.
  • Speeding and Reckless Driving: Drivers who are speeding or driving recklesly often fail to react in time to prevent a collision. This can trigger a chain reaction, resulting in a multi-vehicle pile-up.
  • Distracted Driving: Drivers who were distracted, such as texting while driving or eating behind the wheel, diverts the driver's attention from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Impaired Driving: Alcohol or drug impairment impairs judgment and slows reaction times, making drunk driving accidents more likely.

Establishing Fault in Multiple-Vehicle Accidents in Missouri & Kansas

If you were injured in a multi-vehicle accident, you may be wondering who is at fault. Was it a single one person’s negligence that began a chain reaction? Or, was there negligence or recklessness by multiple drivers who each contributed to causing the crash? 

The answer will depend on a thorough investigation of the accident.  The process typically involves a detailed investigation, which includes  interviewing witnesses gathering evidence, and often using expert testimony to reconstruct the events leading up to the accident. Here's how it is typically done: 

  1. Police Reports: Law enforcement officers' accounts and conclusions about the accident can be critical in establishing who was at fault.
  2. Witness Statements: Statements from individuals who witnessed the accident can provide important perspectives on what happened.
  3. Accident Reconstruction: Specialists in accident reconstruction can use the evidence from the scene to recreate the events leading up to and during the crash, helping to identify the party or parties at fault.
  4. Violation of Traffic Laws: If a driver violated traffic laws, this would be a strong indication of their fault in the accident.

Comparative Fault in a Multiple Car Crash in Missouri & Kansas

Determining fault in multi-car accidents can be challenging due to the number of parties involved and the chaotic nature of these incidents. In some cases, multiple parties may share liability for the accident. Both Kansas and Missouri employ comparative fault systems, meaning that you may still be able to recover damages even if you are partially at fault.  

Under Kansas law, you can recover damages as long as you are less than 50% at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In Missouri, there is no such 50% bar rule. You can recover as long as you are not 100% at fault. Again, your compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault.

A Comparative Fault Example in Missouri & Kansas

Here's an example to illustrate how this works.  Assume one of the most common scenarios, a rear-end collision. A passenger car was stopped at a red light, and a SUV suddenly strikes it from behind. Prior to that collision, however, the SUV was actually struck from behind by a pick-up truck, which pushed it into the stopped car.

In this instance, the pick-up truck would likely be assessed with fault or liability in contributing to the crash with both the SUV and the front passenger car.  This is because drivers are expected to leave enough space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them to make a safe stop.

It is possible that the pick-up truck driver was distracted and did not see the stopped SUV. Distracted driving is a growing problem and can arise in a variety of situations, such as texting while driving, grooming one’s self, looking at the radio or talking on the phone.

Since driver of the SUV was already stopped, he could not have prevented him or herself from being pushed into the passenger car by the pick-up truck. Therefore, even though the SUV the rear of car in front of it, it would be difficult to find the SUV driver at fault.  This will have an impact on how the insurance company values the rear-end collision.

It is essential to understand these legal nuances. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can guide you through these aspects and ensure that you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve. Remember, the aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident can be stressful, but you don't have to navigate this process alone.

Types of Injuries in Multi-Vehicle Accidents in Missouri & Kansas

Multi-vehicle accidents, involving three or more cars, trucks, or other vehicles, are typically severe due to the extent of the impact. These accidents, unfortunately, often result in a range of injuries, some of which can be life-threatening. Understanding the potential injuries can help victims protect their rights and seek the necessary compensation. 

  • Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are violently jolted back and forth. This is a common injury in rear-end collisions.
  • Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): These can occur when the victim's head strikes an object, such as a steering wheel or window, or when the brain is jolted within the skull.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These potentially devastating injuries can lead to paralysis and other long-term disabilities.
  • Broken Bones: The force of a collision can break bones, especially ribs, arms, and legs.
  • Internal Injuries: Internal organs can be damaged by the force of the crash, often leading to life-threatening situations.

How to Recover Fair Compensation After a Multi-Vehicle Accident

Securing fair compensation following a multi-vehicle accident is often a challenging process. It requires an understanding of the legal complexities involved, as well as the ability to effectively negotiate with insurance companies. It is paramount to remember that insurance companies are profit-driven entities and often aim to minimize their payouts. Consequently, they may initially offer a settlement amount that is less than what you deserve for the damages you have incurred. The following steps outline the necessary actions to take in order to ensure a fair compensation: 

  1. Understand your rights and liabilities: Detailed knowledge of your rights and liabilities under Kansas and Missouri law is pivotal. Be aware that these laws differ in terms of fault determination and compensation claims.
  2. Seek medical attention: A comprehensive medical report is an essential piece of evidence that can substantiate your claim. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention following an accident, even if you believe your injuries to be minor.
  3. Gather evidence: Collecting evidence at the scene can greatly support your case. This may include photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and a copy of the police report.
  4. Engage an experienced car accident attorney: Hiring a personal injury attorney who specializes in multi-vehicle accident cases can make a significant difference. They can help navigate the legal complexities, negotiate with insurance companies, and ultimately improve your chances of securing fair compensation.

Our Kansas City Car Accident Attorney Can Help

When a car accident results in minor damage and minor injuries, drivers can often settle the case without help from an attorney. This decision largely depends on the severity of the accident, the extent of the injuries, and the complexity of the legal and insurance issues involved. 

Things can definitely get much more complicated in a multi-vehicle crash, which is why having strong legal respresentation is important. An attorney can assist with gathering necessary documentation and information to help prove accident fault.

If you were in a car accident in or around Kansas or Missouri that involved multiple vehicles, contact our Kansas City car accident lawyer.  We can share our strategy to investigate the accident and protect your right to compensation. Call us in Kansas City at (816) 203-0143, for a free consultation.


Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS
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