One of the challenges in a multi-vehicle accident claim or lawsuit is determining who holds accident fault. In some cases it could be that just one person’s negligence started a chain reaction.
But in other circumstances it may be two or more drivers who acted in a careless or reckless manner. Because of the complexities involved in this type of accident, it’s generally a good idea to seek legal counsel.
Establishing Accident Liability in a Multi-Vehicle Crash
One of the most common scenarios in which three or more vehicles could be involved in an accident is a rear-end crash. For instance, a passenger car is stopped at a red light but a pickup truck suddenly strikes from behind. However, the pickup was actually pushed into the stopped car after being struck from behind by an SUV.
In this example fault would most likely be with the driver of the SUV, since motorists are expected to be diligent and leave enough space between themselves and the car in front of them to make a safe stop.
It could be that the driver was distracted and therefore, didn’t see the stopped pickup truck. Distractions can come in many forms, such as reaching for an object, talking on a phone or reading a map.
The driver of the pickup truck was already stopped and couldn’t have possibly prevented him or herself from being pushed into the passenger car. So even though the pickup struck the vehicle in front of it, there would be difficulty finding the pickup truck driver at fault.
This type of situation could have a little twist to it, however. Let’s say the passenger car wasn’t stopped but was traveling down the street and the driver had to hit the brakes because a child darted into the street. The driver of the pickup truck was following too closely and strikes the passenger car. Meanwhile, the SUV hits the pickup from behind because that driver happened to be texting at the time.
Tailgating would put the pickup driver at fault. But the driver of the SUV would also bear some responsibility for driving while distracted. Therefore, the insurance company and/or court would assign a degree of fault to each driver.
There can be many other circumstances in which three or more vehicles are involved in a collision. No matter what type of accident it is, the way it’s handled is the same as with a two-car crash. It comes down to determining who had acted negligently. In some cases it may be easy to establish, but in other cases it could be much more complicated.
When an Attorney Would Be Helpful after a Multi-Vehicle Accident
When a collision results in minor damage and no injuries, or injuries aren’t serious, drivers can typically settle the case without help from an attorney. But if there is significant damage and/or serious injuries, an attorney would be advantageous. It may also be necessary to consult with one if the insurance companies cannot agree on fault.
There can be many different factors that play into an accident, such as:
- a driver’s speed;
- road condition; and
- the reason for a vehicle making a sudden stop.
Things can definitely get much more complicated in a multi-vehicle crash, which is why having ample evidence is important. An attorney can assist with gathering necessary documentation and information to help prove accident fault.
If you were in a car accident in or around Clarksburg, consult an attorney at The Miley Legal Group to go over accident fault as well as your rights to compensation. Call us in Clarksburg at (304) 931-4088.