While recovering from any type of car accident can be challenging, there are some particular challenges related to multi-car accidents. Given these challenges, it is especially important to have an experienced lawyer on your side after one of these collisions.
A multi-car accident is any accident that involves three or more vehicles. Along with cars, these could be work vans, tractor trailers, garbage trucks, pickup trucks and SUVs. After a multi-vehicle collision, the important question is not what types of vehicles were involved, but rather who (or what company) is responsible for the collision.
5 Challenges When Dealing with the Aftermath of a Multi-Car Accident
As lawyers who represent car accident victims in Florida, we regularly help individuals and families seek financial compensation for multi-car accidents. In these cases, some of the challenges we typically need to overcome include:
1. Determining the Chain of Events
When dealing with the aftermath of a multi-car accident, determining the chain of events is extremely important. This is the first step toward determining who is responsible—and who you may need to sue to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Determining the chain of events starts with conducting an on-scene investigation. Examining the damage to each vehicle, talking to witnesses, reviewing any video footage, and obtaining evidence from other sources will often be critical as well. In many cases, it will be necessary to hire an expert accident reconstructionist who can piece together the series of events involved in the accident.
2. Identifying the Negligent Driver (or Drivers)
After determining what happened, the next challenge involves identifying who is responsible. In a typical two-car accident, there will be one victim and one negligent driver. But, in a multi-car accident, multiple drivers could be victims, and multiple drivers could be responsible for contributing to the accident.
For example, let’s say a speeding driver rear-ends an SUV. The SUV driver is tailgating you, and hits your car after the initial impact. In this scenario, both the speeder and the tailgater would likely be deemed negligent, and both would be partially responsible for your injuries.
Now, let’s say the SUV driver was not tailgating, but the initial impact was so severe that he or she was still unable to avoid rear-ending you. In this scenario, the speeding driver may be fully liable for both your and the SUV driver’s losses.
3. Identifying Any Other Causal Factors
Along with driver negligence, a variety of other factors can contribute to causing multi-car accidents as well. These include vehicle defects and road hazards, among others. When investigating a multi-car accident, one of the challenges involved is determining whether any of these other causal factors are to blame rather than (or in addition to) driver negligence.
In many cases, these other causal factors will combine with driver negligence to result in multi-vehicle collisions. For example, a speeding driver may hit a pothole, and this may cause the driver to hit multiple other vehicles after losing control. Or a distracted driver’s brakes may fail, and this combination of factors (distracted driving and brake failure) may be to blame for a multi-car collision.
4. Determining Which Company (or Companies) Are Liable
Once our lawyers determine the cause (or causes) of a multi-car accident, the next challenge involves determining which company (or companies) are liable. Depending on the circumstances, there are several possibilities, including:
- Auto insurance companies
- Trucking companies and other employers
- Car and truck manufacturers
- Government authorities and road construction contractors
- Maintenance shops, repair shops and dealerships
The causal factors involved in an accident will determine which companies are responsible, and recovering your losses will involve filing the correct claim (or claims) against the correct company (or companies).
5. Pursuing Multiple Claims (If Necessary)
Oftentimes, victims of multi-car accidents will need to file multiple claims in order to fully recover their accident-related losses. For example, let’s say you were seriously injured in a multi-vehicle pileup, and an investigation reveals that two negligent drivers and an issue with the road combined to trigger the accident. In this scenario, our lawyers may need to file claims with your insurance company, both negligent drivers’ insurance companies, and the government authority that is responsible for the road to secure the full financial compensation you deserve.
Overcoming the Challenges Related to Multi-Car Accidents
While multi-car accidents present unique challenges, these challenges can be overcome. As a result, you should not let the challenges of your situation deter you from speaking with a lawyer. When we represent multi-car accident victims in Florida, some of the steps our lawyers take to overcome the challenges discussed above include:
- Promptly Conducting an On-Scene Investigation – The sooner we can investigate the accident scene, the better. Investigating promptly helps ensure that we are able to gather as much evidence of liability as possible.
- Working with an Accident Reconstructionist (and Other Experts) – Working with an experienced accident reconstructionist allows us to visually demonstrate what happened and who is to blame. Depending on the circumstances, we may work with vehicle inspectors, road engineers and other experts as well.
- Using the Legal Process to Gather Additional Evidence – By using the legal process known as discovery, we can gather additional evidence such as maintenance records, cell phone records, texts and emails to prove each causal factor.
- Conducting Multi-Party Negotiations – If multiple companies share financial responsibility for your accident-related losses, we can conduct multi-party negotiations focused on securing a settlement that serves your long-term needs.
- Going to Court if Necessary – Finally, if necessary, we can take your multi-car case to court. We can present the evidence to a jury, and we can present a compelling case for maximum compensation.
Discuss Your Multi-Car Accident with a Lawyer at Searcy Denney
Were you seriously injured in a multi-car accident in Florida? If so, we want to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve. To speak with a lawyer at Searcy Denney as soon as possible, please call 800-780-8607 or tell us how we can reach you online now.