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Severe Carpool Accidents with Multiple Injuries: Who Is Liable?

Jun 21st, 2022

Carpool Accidents

In most car accidents involving two cars and drivers, proving liability is a generally straightforward issue. Even in states with comparable negligence laws, you’re only dividing fault between two parties. But what happens if you’re in a carpool where the car is in a serious accident, and several of you are injured? Who is liable then–and will you be compensated for your injuries? Let’s explore this question in a bit more detail.

Determining Liability

When you’re dealing with accidents with multiple passengers and multiple injuries, there can be a lot of confusion over who is responsible–and there may sometimes be issues with insurance limits, etc. At the heart, the principle is the same: whoever is at fault for the accident is legally responsible for covering the costs for damage and injury caused. (For example, if the driver of your carpool caused the accident, that driver’s insurance covers your injuries.)

Proving who is at fault in a carpool accident can be tricky, however. In some cases, it may be clear who is liable (for example, if one driver was speeding or driving recklessly). But in other cases, there may be multiple contributing factors–or it may not be clear what really happened. That’s where things can get complicated quickly. Some examples of how several factors might contribute to a carpooling accident:

  • Multiple cars may be involved—and each of the drivers shares a percentage of the fault. In this case, the attorneys and insurance have the task of unraveling what percent of the fault should be assigned to each driver assumes, and therefore what percentage of the total cost each should pay.
  • Some passengers may have contributed to the accident. Example: the accident occurred because one or more of the riders were distracting the driver with loud noises or antics. They may share some of the liability, as well.

What About Company Sponsored Carpools?

As more companies are offering carpooling among their employee benefits, a new legal question is surfacing: Could the company itself be liable for damages, especially if it’s a company-owned vehicle? This question can get very complicated because it would likely depend on the facts of each case. For example, if the company knew that the driver had a history of reckless driving but still allowed them to drive the carpool van, they might be held liable for damages. Additionally, if investigators determine that the accident occurred due to mechanical issues or failures in the vehicle itself, the company could also bear some or all of the responsibility.

There are so many variables in accidents involving carpools. It’s best to have your own attorney involved in the process, whether you were driving or were a passenger. Not to mention it’s best to have your own attorney whether or not you were injured. Have you been injured in a carpool accident? Our attorneys can work through the complexities of the case to help you receive all the compensation you deserve. Call our law office today for a free consultation.