In every accident, you need to determine fault for insurance purposes. The at-fault party is responsible for paying for any damages and losses. In a multi-vehicle accident, the rear driver is typically responsible for all of the injuries for any subsequent victims.
Through a car insurance injury claim or civil suit, the at-fault driver will pay for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and more, so determining fault is critical. Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC can answer all of your questions about who is at fault in a multi-car accident.
What Is a Multi-Vehicle Collision?
Two vehicles colliding is a typical car accident; there is also a single-vehicle accident involving one vehicle and an object. However, multi-vehicle accidents involve more than two vehicles, and more than one driver can be at fault. If you have ever heard of a highway pile-up on the news, that is a prime example of a multi-vehicle collision.
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What Causes Chain Reaction Accidents?
A pile-up is one example of a multi-vehicle accident and happens when Car A crashes into Car B, which causes Car B to collide with Car C. Another example is when one car forces a second car into another traffic lane, causing more vehicles to be involved. There are some common causes of chain reaction accidents:
- Icy roads
- Poor visibility
- Following too closely
While these accidents can happen anywhere, they most often occur in high-traffic, high-volume, or high-speed roadways.
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How Is Fault Determined in a Multi-Car Accident?
Several entities will need to investigate the circumstances of the accident to determine liability and fault. The police and others who respond to the scene will file reports based on their opinion of the circumcircles. The insurance companies will also investigate the accident by reviewing medical documents, the police report, and the drivers’ statements.
Your personal injury lawyer will also conduct an investigation by pulling camera footage from nearby establishments, speaking to witnesses, working with accident reconstruction experts, and more. There are times when each party will find a different person responsible and other instances where they all agree.
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How Do You Prove the Other Driver Was at Fault?
State laws will impact what you need to prove that another driver was at fault. There are comparative and complete negligence states. In a full negligence state, one party must show that another diver was completely at fault for the accident and therefore has full responsibility for the losses.
In comparative fault, one driver must be 51% or more responsible for the incident. In these cases, the court determines percentage points and award amounts. Since multi-vehicle crashes are very complex, you need a local multi-car accident lawyer to investigate and collect evidence showing the fault.
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What if the At-Fault Driver Leaves the Scene of the Accident?
Some drivers are so frightened of the potential consequences of causing a chain reaction accident they leave the scene. These drivers are often known as ghost or hit-and-run drivers. During the chaos of such a big accident, drivers believe it is easy to get away.
Still, if everyone in the accident can provide sufficient details about the vehicle or driver, there is a higher chance of catching them. Even if the ghost driver disappears, you can file a claim using your uninsured motorist coverage. The provision is mandatory in some states and optional in others.
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What Are the Possible Complications of a Multi-Car Crash?
Many complications come with a multi-car collision because several people, cars, and property are involved. The difficulties that can arise from these accidents are liability, assessing damage accurately, insurance issues, and determining the cause of injuries.
In a multi-vehicle accident, liability can be on one driver or several. It can also fall on a government agency or product manufacturer. While the police will conduct a preliminary investigation, there are many other elements they do not see. After determining liability, your local personal injury lawyer must work to assess the property damage and who was responsible for causing it.
Next up is figuring out the cause of the injuries and proving they were related to the chain reaction accident and not anything else since the insurance company will try to deny an injury claim by finding another cause for your injuries. Since there are multiple vehicles, there are also numerous insurance companies to negotiate with.
How Do I Start an Accident Claim?
When you are not at fault for an accident, you must move quickly to recover compensation for your losses. Insurance companies and state laws place deadlines on how long you have to file claims and lawsuits. As an accident victim, you must inform your insurance company of the accident without providing any details, only stating where and when it occurred.
You will also need to notify the other driver’s insurance company of the accident and keep the same thing in mind, stick to the basics. However, a critical step that protects you from misunderstandings is contacting GKBM for legal advice. Our firm can handle the insurance claim process and file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance claim does not garner favorable results.
What Compensation Can You Receive from a Claim?
Through an insurance claim, you can recover compensation from the at-fault party for any harm they cause you. Examples of payment you can receive are:
- Medical expense
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Lost earnings
- Disability benefits
- Vehicle and home modifications
- Funeral expenses
Chain reaction collisions result in debilitating injuries that can affect your life for years. There are multiple parties, and with so many vehicles moving and colliding, the probability of an injury is high, as is the property damage.
Why Do You Need a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident Lawyer?
There are many complexities and possible complications to understand who is at fault in multi-vehicle car accidents, so you need a law firm that knows how to investigate the cause and liability and work with insurance companies. Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC will listen carefully to your story, gather documents related to the crash, address your questions and represent you in all legal matters.
We will be there every step of the way and work with you to get you the compensation you deserve. Call our office for an initial consultation today.