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Multi-Car Accidents - Who is at fault?

Tamyka Caputo
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24 October 2023

Determining liability in multi-car accidents can be complex, as there are many factors that can influence the outcome. However, there are some general principles that can help you understand who is at fault.

Rear End Collisions

In a rear-end collision, the car from behind is generally considered to be at fault, no matter how abruptly the car in front stopped. This is because the car from behind has a duty to maintain a safe distance from the car in front.

A Pile-Up

In a pile-up of three or more vehicles, the first vehicle behind that failed to stop and caused the chain of collisions will be at fault for the entire accident. This is because the first vehicle behind had the opportunity to see the accident unfolding and take steps to avoid it.

However, there are some exceptions to these general principles. For example, if a car is pushed into the car in front by the car behind, the car that was pushed will not be at fault.

Ultimately, who is liable for a multi-car accident will be determined on a case-by-case basis. However, the principles outlined above can help you understand the factors that will be considered when determining liability.


In addition to liability, it is also important to consider the role of insurance in multi-car accidents. In Queensland, all registered vehicles have CTP insurance, which covers the owner/driver of the vehicle for personal injury claims of other parties. Property damage insurance is optional, but it can be a good idea to have this coverage in case you are involved in a multi-car accident.

If you are involved in a multi-car accident, it is important to notify your insurer as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that your claim is processed promptly and that you are not left out of pocket for any damages that you are liable for.