Every 14 seconds a person is injured in a car wreck. One person dies because of a car wreck every 12 minutes. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that almost 6 million accidents occur per year, with nearly one-third of those being multi-vehicle accidents, also known as pile-ups.
With cell phones, GPS devices, radios, and constant roadside distractions, it’s easy for a driver to lose focus for a moment and set off an unfortunate chain reaction. With numerous cars, trucks, semis, motorcycles all crashing into one another, it’s quite easy for a simple fender bender to turn into something bigger.
When considering that accidents can involve a single car being hit from different angles by numerous cars, or passengers mistakenly getting out of their vehicles in a state of shock without paying attention to the cars around them, plus rescue vehicles having difficulty getting to the crash site because of the pile-up, the dangers are quite noticeable.
Common Causes of Multi-vehicle accidents include:
Rain, fog, ice, and hail are just a few of the weather hazards that can quickly make the road become a dangerous place. Low visibility and slippery roads can lead to pile-ups.
When paired with bad weather, speeding can quickly lead to serious injury or death.
Whether under the influence of alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, intoxicated drivers can have their sense of time and depth perception altered.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of cell phones means that a huge number of drivers on the road are distracted because of talking, texting, checking emails, or taking pictures. The use of gadgets in the car is one of the leading causes of collisions.
A very real concern for semi-truck drivers because of their long work hours, falling asleep behind the wheel, or even dazing off for one second can mean a horrendous accident.
Loud music, conversations with other passengers, focusing on GPS gadgetry, eating, putting on makeup, or just general inattention to the road ahead can lead to multi-vehicle accidents.
Who’s at Fault?
Multi-car accidents tend to involve high insurance payouts, especially when they occur on highways and involve more than four vehicles. As a result, insurance companies will thoroughly investigate the accident to find out who is at fault and the underlying causes of the accident.
Duty of Care and Proximate Cause
Determining fault in a multi-car collision requires a ton of investigation and is a complex process as authorities must identify the negligent act, as well as who was speeding, following too closely, using an electronic device, and more.
Duty of care is the responsibility of driving carefully under the circumstances and a failure to do so can be considered a negligent act. A negligent driver becomes the proximate (legally acceptable) cause of injury to other drivers. The injured driver has a legal right to compensation from the at-fault driver.
In order to determine who was at fault in the accident, insurance investigators will:
Review police reports to find out if there were any arrest or citations for:
- Possession of narcotics
- Open alcohol container
- Suspended license or unlicensed driver
- No insurance
- Reckless driving
- Following too closely
Investigators will also interview drivers, passengers, and witness, as well as take photographs of the accident scene. They will also review driving records of drivers to research for prior arrests, tickets, and accidents.
Filing a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver(s)
If you are involved in a multi-vehicle accident, you’ll want to contact your insurance company immediately. You may want to pursue your own claim against the at-fault driver(s), if the at-fault party is evident.
If you’re not sure who is at fault, then you can file your claim against all the insurance companies of the other drivers. This may help to procure a better understanding of who is at fault, as the insurance companies will attempt to protect themselves.
The reality is that these multi-vehicle wrecks tend to end up in litigation, as there are multiple claims for compensation being made without a clear understanding of who is fault. Because of this most insurance companies will refuse to settle.
As litigation in multi-vehicle wrecks can be complex and truly a dog-eat-dog situation, you’ll want an attorney who knows how to get tough with these insurance companies.
When this happens, you need a law firm that will fight for the truth; a law firm that will fight for you. J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys understands the legal ring and can help you get the justice, and compensation, you or your loved one deserves.
Contact us today at 1-800-CAR-CRASH to get the right team on your side.