The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports almost 2 million annual multiple car accidents in the US. The more cars are involved, the harder it will be to determine liability. It could take days or even weeks for investigations to take place. It’s common for investigators who work for insurance companies to try and deflect liability to save their company money. Thus, victims of a multi-car crash often end up in court to settle their claims. Your best option is to hire an experienced Denver car accident attorney for proper legal representation.
Determining who is at fault for a multi-car accident can be complicated. It’s not as simple as merely looking for the car with the most damage. The fault must be determined on a case-by-case basis since each accident will have unique circumstances. There are, however, some general principles that can help establish liability. First, we must consider each driver’s actions and the type of accident. For example, was the accident a rear-end accident, head-on collision, intersection crash, or lane change accident?
Generally speaking, the first driver who failed to practice reasonable care will likely bear responsibility. While it might seem obvious who the liable party is for starting a domino effect, this is not always the case. Therefore, it’s crucial for an extensive investigation to thoroughly break down what happened to produce a fair decision for all parties involved in the accident. Especially in a multi-vehicle car accident, drivers involved in the crash may deflect responsibility and want to point fingers at the other drivers they believe initiated the collision. Thus, it’s rarely a simple task to determine fault in a multiple car accident.
What Is a Multi-Car Accident?
A multiple-car accident or multi-car accident happens when more than one vehicle is involved. Rear-end accidents, often called multiple car pile-ups, are the most common type of multi-car accidents. You may have also heard them being called chain-reaction car accidents.
Assigning Liability in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident
To determine fault in a multi-vehicle car accident, you will need to determine which driver initially acted negligently. This will be more complicated than assessing an accident involving only two cars. In multi-vehicle car accidents, the driver’s negligence will cause several vehicles to collide. Like a rear-end collision causing the front vehicle to crash into the back of another car, the first driver to act negligently usually spurs a chain reaction in multi-car pile-ups.
Many different factors can cause multi-car crashes. Inclement weather conditions that cause poor visibility or road conditions are just a few examples. Or, perhaps a driver loses control of their vehicle, leading to a pile-up. You may be unsure how your insurance company determined fault for the multi-car accident you were involved in. In that scenario, it would be helpful to consult with a knowledgeable Denver car accident attorney who has experience dealing with such cases. You may decide to take legal action, in which case having an attorney would further help you. Multi-car accidents can potentially cause severe damages and any extent of injuries. Thus, if you’ve sustained injuries or incurred damages in the accident, your attorney can help you recover the losses you’ve endured.
To further complicate determining fault in a multi-vehicle accident, you’ll need to determine whether your state enforces no-fault or at-fault policies. In addition, you’ll need to provide ample evidence to prove the other driver(s)’ negligence.
The Importance of Witnesses
In cases like these, witnesses who were not directly involved in the crash can be crucial. They were not personally involved in the crash, so they are usually objective, impartial observers. Meaning they will most likely be able to tell an account of what they witnessed, free of bias. Furthermore, if several witnesses corroborate each other, this can help solidify the testimony.
If your health and physical well-being is not compromised after the accident, be sure to get contact information from any nearby bystanders. It’s essential to take down their contact information, including their name and phone number, as they will offer valuable testimony to the case.
The Role of Law Enforcement
With any accident you are involved in, it’s imperative to call the police and file an accident report. This will prove to be an essential detail when you need to assign liability later in the case. Police reports will document all the details and facts of the incident like time, date, location, and access to any nearby surveillance videos that may have recorded the accident.
If you want to seek fair financial compensation for your injuries and property damage, it may be in your best interest to hire a Denver car accident injury attorney. You may not want to rely solely on insurance companies to determine liability in a multi-vehicle accident. They will, by nature, make assigning liability challenging and not have your best interests in mind. Instead, they want to save their own companies money and give you the lowest settlement possible. That’s why it’s so crucial to have an attorney who is experienced in negotiating and will fight to get you justice.
No-Fault and At-Fault States
Each driver’s insurance will cover their injuries in a no-fault state, most often through personal injury protection (PIP) coverage policies. However, you might still be able to bring a claim for damages against the at-fault driver for property damage.
Colorado on the other hand, is an at-fault state, which means you can file a claim with the other party’s insurance company after an accident. According to the Insurance Information Institute, liability insurance pays for any bodily injury or property damages that the policyholder is responsible for. In addition, collision and comprehensive insurance can cover property damage that the policyholder incurred. Lastly, some states may also recognize comparative negligence or pure contributory negligence. This will affect how much compensation each party will receive for their injuries and other damages.
Contact an Experienced Denver Car Accident Injury Attorney
Determining liability is not always a simple task, especially when multiple cars are involved. Our experienced attorneys make it a priority to help car accident injury victims recover from the accident and move forward with their lives.
If you’ve sustained injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact a skilled car accident injury attorney now to schedule your consultation. We will fight for your rights and help you win the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.