How to Determine Fault in a Multi-Car Accident in Buena Park, CA

Documents for vehicle insurance, car insurance policy, and auto insurance policy for a multi-car accident

About Multi-Car Accidents

Are you concerned about your liability after a multi-car accident in Buena Park?

Demonstrating fault is essential to this type of litigation. It is a critical concern due to comparative negligence laws. This doctrine used by civil courts in California can hold you accountable for a percentage of the damages.

As a result, your best interests depend on limiting the blame a judge or jury assigns. Deconstructing who carries fault in your case will depend on the factors discussed below. Give yourself time today to read these sections carefully and compare them to your circumstances.

Primary Considerations

This guide focuses on two components for each section. First, we will examine what California law or legal precedent says about these vital questions. With this understanding, we will demonstrate how this legislation becomes interpreted for civil juries.

Reasonable Care

With busy roadways, like Crescent Ave., Knott Ave., and Stanton Ave., reasonable care is a central concern for any car accident case in Buena Park. It can make the difference between collecting damages or getting left out after multi-car collisions.

The landmark case that established what qualifies as reasonable care goes back to 1919. The Supreme Court of California made several distinctions in Zarazana v. Neve Drug Co. that still apply today.

First, the highest court in the state declared that everyone has a right to safe access to public roads. Every driver on the road has to operate their vehicle in a way that protects others from harm.

Consequently, everyone must use reasonable care when they drive in Buena Park. They should exert control over its movement, speed, and other factors. Therefore, CACI No. 700 instructs civil juries to consider anyone who fails to meet this standard liable for negligence.

This legal consideration is crucial enough that a case study is helpful to illustrate its impact. For this article, we will examine Mortensen v. Fairbanks.

This case made its way to the Second District Court of Appeal in an effort to secure a retrial. The jurist who oversaw it gave particular weight to the reasonable car standard in their decision. Since they found that the plaintiff did not exercise care when turning at an intersection, their motion received a denial.


Determining who had the right-of-way in a multi-car accident can be vital to explore. Someone who does not obey this traffic law can have genuine liability concerns.

California Vehicle Code provides a brief and straightforward definition of who has the right-of-way. You need to have the privilege of immediate use of the highway. Actions like crashing into a pedestrian crossing and causing a personal injury at a red light would violate this legislation.

Accordingly, the court could order the jury to consider CACI No. 701 in multi-car accident litigation. This instruction makes it necessary for your peers to determine if you or another party failed to yield the right-of-way. Any judgment that affirms someone did not meet this obligation has significant consequences.

Immediate Hazard

Each party in a multi-car accident must recognize an immediate hazard regardless of their positioning. For example, many drivers may assume that the person who rear-ends others carries the weight of this mistake alone. However, there are circumstances where others can make the same error.

California law outlines several situations where a driver should be aware of an immediate hazard.

A few of the conditions an individual from Buena Park needs to take into consideration are:

  • Pedestrian crosswalks
  • Equestrian crossings
  • Approaching an intersection
  • Tunnels of overhead crossings
  • Moving toward public or private property

At the conclusion of a civil trial, jury members will look at these circumstances and make a pivotal decision. CACI No. 703 asks them to look at the facts and decide if a reasonable person could have realized a collision was imminent.

Speed Law Violation

Establishing negligence in these complex legal actions also involves confirming speed law violations. If one or more party is guilty of driving too fast, they will share a considerable portion of the fault.

California legislation details the circumstances where someone can break speed limit laws. For instance, it states that no vehicle should go faster than 65 miles per hour on the highway. Regardless, there is another expectation for motorists to reduce speed due to the weather or visibility.

CACI No. 706 translates how juries should compare actions in a car accident to these laws. At its core, this instruction focuses on whether or not someone drove at a reasonable speed. They must evaluate whether the plaintiff or defendants neglected to fulfill this duty.

Passenger’s Duty of Care

Passengers in a multi-car accident in Buena Park can also carry a percentage of the fault. Their action or inaction could change the distribution of blame by a local judge or jury.

Casey v. Russel is arguably the most relevant precedent regarding a passenger’s duty of care. In this case, the California Courts of Appeal decided automobile passengers do not have to observe traffic conditions.

Nonetheless, we also have to look at Pobor v. Western Pacific Railroad Co. This case established that passengers cannot turn a blind eye to safety. If they witness dangerous behavior by the driver, they have an obligation to say something about it.

Further Considerations

Understanding the primary considerations above provides essential details about fault under these circumstances. However, many other factors can enter into a lawsuit.

Negligence could also depend on the details like the following:

  • Turning violations
  • Driving under the influence
  • Duty of care for pedestrians
  • Passenger’s duty of care
  • Motor vehicle owner liability
  • Liability for giving a minor permission to use a motor vehicle

Each of these elements could become contested during your civil case. Moreover, you may need to discuss a litany of other concerns with a Buena Park car accident attorney to determine your liability.

Discuss Your Multi-Car Accident With an Attorney

As you have learned in this article, establishing fault in a multi-car accident is challenging. The competition among each party to assign blame makes looking at this topic from several angles necessary.

You can reach Park Accident Attorneys 24/7 through our website or by phone. Contact us online or call 714-735-0118 today to schedule a consultation and discuss who was at fault in your collision.

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