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When a Chase Ends in a Crash, Which Driver is Liable?

Car chases that don’t involve the cops? It happens more often than you might think. One driver pursues the other for one reason or another. But when these chases end in a crash, who ‘s liable for the damages? The answer may not be as obvious as you think. Here are a few factors that could affect the outcome.

Liability

While not always be the case, drivers that pursue others open themselves up to a charge of negligent driving, which can be used to establish liability. But you may be surprised to learn that the driver who is being pursued may also be held liable if a car crash ensues.  Here’s how both chase scenarios might play out:

  • If you are chasing another driver.  No matter where the crash occurs, the most common type of causation used to establish negligence is “but-for” causation, which holds that the crash would not have occurred “but for” the pursuing driver’s actions.
  • If you are being chased. This scenario is far more complicated and turns on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. For example, if the driver that is pursing you initiated the chase, it is unlikely that you will be held liable. However, if you either initiated the chase or escalated it in some way, odds are you will held at least partly liable for the crash.