Who Is Liable In A Multi-Car Pile-Up?

By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 22nd December 2023. Proving who is liable in a multi-car pile-up can be complicated. A multi-car pile-up means a road traffic accident that consists of multiple vehicles. These are very often associated with motorways as if there is an accident up ahead as people start to slow down vehicles can either not stop in time or have failed to notice any stopping at all. In some instances, the liability may be ‘split’ between two or more parties.

Who is liable in a multi-car pile up guide

Who is liable in a multi-car pile up guide

When you are injured in a multi-car pile-up, proving who is responsible can be challenging. In the sections below, you will find out more about liability in a multi-car pile-up. We explain how you could be entitled to claim personal injury compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident.

We have included a table showing how much a successful injury claim could be awarded in compensation, and how you could seek general and special damages. Moreover, you will find information on the type of injuries you could suffer in a car accident which includes whiplash.

If you are wondering how to prove who could be liable in a multi-car pile-up, please click on the sections below. If you need to speak to an adviser about starting a car accident claim, please call a member of our team on 0161 696 9685.

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Car Crash Compensation Payouts In The UK

If you suffered an injury in a multi vehicle crash, you might be interested to learn about car crash compensation payouts. In this section, we look at the different heads that could form your personal injury compensation in a successful claim.

Firstly, you’ll claim for your pain and suffering under general damages. While we can’t provide an exact figure due to the various elements that make up multiple vehicle accident claims, we can provide figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

Our table includes figures from the JCG for injuries that could be relevant in a multi car accident, except for the first entry. Additionally, the bottom two entries are taken from the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 and are fixed amounts used to value whiplash injuries. As every road traffic accident claim is different, this table is only provided for guidance. 

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Injury Severity Notes Potential Compensation
Multiple injuries of a serious nature and special damages Very Severe Settlements may include compensation for more than one serious injury and any related expenses, including lost earnings and home modifications. Up to £1,000,000+
Brain Damage Very Severe The injured person will require full time nursing care due to the symptoms which include a lack of meaningful responses to their environment, no language function and double incontinence. £282,010 to £403,990
Leg Injuries Amputations (i) The claimant has lost both legs, either both above the knee or one above and one below. £240,790 to £282,010
Back Injuries Severe (i) These cases involve spinal cord and nerve root damage that causes serious consequences. £91,090 to £160,980
Neck Injuries Severe (i) The claimant suffers incomplete paraplegia or permanent spastic quardriparesis due to a neck injury. In the region of £148,330
Arm Injuries Permanent and Substantial Disablement This JCG bracket includes serious fractures either to one or both forearms that cause a significant permanent residual disability. £39,170 to £59,860
Facial Scarring Less Severe The injured party suffers with a significant psychological reaction caused by substantial disfigurement. £17,960 to £48,420
Skeletal Injuries Multiple Fractures of the Facial Bones The claimant has some permanent facial deformity as a result of multiple fractures. £14,900 to £23,950
Whiplash Tariff Whiplash plus a Psychological Injury This tariff applies to claimants who suffer with symptoms related to whiplash and a psychological injury for 18-24 months. £4,345
Whiplash Tariff Whiplash without a Psychological Injury This tariff applies to claimants who suffer with whiplash without any psychological symptoms for 18-24 months. £4,215

Some personal injury claims may have a second head called special damages. This can help claimants recover costs directly related to the injury. To recover costs, you must be able to prove them. For example, if you found yourself out of work due to injuries after a multiple vehicle accident, you could recover loss of earnings with your wage slips. Repair costs for any damaged property could be recovered using receipts or invoices. Any medical expenses, such as therapy costs, could also be recovered.

As stated above, every claim is different. For a personalised estimate of your claim, we recommend getting in touch with one of our advisors.

How do whiplash reforms affect a claim?

The Whiplash Reforms (Civil Liability Act 2018 and the Whiplash Injury Regulations) were implemented on 31st May 2021 in England and Wales. Passengers and drivers in road traffic accidents must now make their personal injury claims in a different way. The reforms now mean if your injury is in the region of  £1,000 to £5,000 you would claim using the Governments portal. You can claim a further £5000 for losses and expenses. This means if your injury is valued at less than £5,000 the liable party no longer has to pay the claimants ‘reasonable’ legal fees.

Prior to the reforms that came into effect in May, the party responsible had to pay part of your legal fees as well as the compensation payout for injuries, suffering, and out of pocket expenses on claims.

Now the Government along with the Motor Insurers Bureau have set up a portal so that claimants can make their own personal injury claims after a road traffic accident.

To discuss average payouts for a multi-car pile-up injury claim, please get in touch with an adviser today. A member of our team will provide free advice and will assess whether you have good reason to pursue a claim against a party you believe responsible.

Multi Car Accident

You can suffer whiplash in a multi car accident.

How Do Insurance Companies Decide Fault In A Road Accident?

Motorists in the UK must hold valid insurance, a failure to do so is an offence. If you hold a fully comprehensive policy, your vehicle repairs will be covered by your insurance provider if you are at fault. When your car is written off, a replacement will be provided or money to purchase a new car either by your insurance or the fault party’s insurance. However, if you are at fault your insurance premium may increase when the policy comes up for renewal. If you do not have comprehensive insurance you would have to cover your own repairs or replacement if you are at fault.

When you suffer injuries in a multi-car pile-up, you could claim compensation by making a personal injury claim against the parties found to be ‘at fault’. If you are at fault for the accident you would not be able to make a personal injury claim for harm suffered. That said, if you are only partially at fault you would still be able to claim a percentage of the compensation you would have got had you been 100% not at fault.

Establishing Split Liability In A Multi-Car Pile-Up

When more than one driver is found liable for a multi-car pile-up, a decision of ‘split liability’ will be made. You may find that you are held partly liable which could be established at 25% at fault. Another driver may be held 75% liable. Should this be the case, you would receive 75% of the compensation you would have been awarded if the other driver is 75% liable.

Motor Insurer

The motor insurer of the party responsible for the car accident pays compensation in successful claims.

How Do I Claim Compensation For Being Injured In A Multi-Car Accident?

You do not have to have a solicitor represent your case. However, this type of claim can be complex as there are several different parties involved. A specialist solicitor has the necessary legal expertise to deal with different insurance providers. They also respect pre-action protocols (PAPs) as well as time limits for starting a personal injury claim.

You must be able to prove you were not responsible for the accident, or that you were only partly responsible. This means collecting as much evidence as you can. The sort of proof needed to support a claim includes:

  • Get the Police report
  • Provide medical reports of everyone who was injured
  • Take photos of the scene of the accident together with all the vehicles involved
  • Make a note of the damage done to your vehicle – this can be photos taken on a smartphone
  • Exchange details with other drivers
  • Ask witnesses for the contact details
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer

If you need any free legal advice, speak to an advisor from our team. They can discuss how providing sufficient evidence can support your claim for a road accident involving more vehicles.

Accident Scene

Photos of the accident scene or police reports can support your claim for a road traffic accident.

Make A No Win No Fee Claim For A Multi-Car Pile-Up

If you suffered injuries in a multi car collision and are eligible to make a compensation claim, you may like to have a solicitor to help you with the legal procedure. A solicitor specialising in claims for car accidents will be able to help you gather evidence, ensure that all of your personal injuries are correctly valued and included and make sure all paperwork is filed on time.

One of the personal injury solicitors from our panel could help with your case. They can also help if you are making a split liability claim. Generally, our panel offer their representation on a No Win No Fee basis. This is usually done under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

When you claim for a pile up collision with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you won’t pay an upfront fee for their work. Your solicitor also won’t ask you to pay any ongoing charges for the services they provide. Furthermore, if you aren’t awarded compensation following an unsuccessful claim, your personal injury solicitor will not collect payment for their services.

However, if your claim for a multi car accident is successful, your award will have a success fee taken from it. This is taken as a percentage that is limited by a legal cap ensuring you keep the most of your settlement.

Contact Us About Claims For Multiple Vehicle Accidents

For free advice about proving liability in claims for multi vehicle accidents, contact one of our team members. They can discuss accidents involving multiple drivers and how the accident happened. Additionally, if you have an eligible claim for a multi car crash, you can be connected to one of the solicitors from our panel.

To speak to an advisor about claims for multi vehicle accidents:

  • Ask about your potential claim in our live chat.
  • Call 0161 696 9685
  • Fill in our contact us form and an advisor will call you back.
Multi Car Accidents

Claims for multi car accidents can be supported by No Win No Fee solicitors.

Related Car Accident Claim Guides

Links to useful external websites:

The Road Traffic Act 1988

Whiplash – An NHS Guide

Links to internal guides 

No Win No Fee personal injury success fees explained:

How success fees are calculated

Personal injury solicitor guide to claiming compensation:

Claiming compensation with help from a personal Injury solicitor

A guide to claiming for someone else:

Guide to claiming compensation on behalf of another person

Other Car Accident Claim Guides