In the state of California, there are over 3,500 traffic-related fatalities every year. Luckily, this number is decreasing but accidents are still frequent, and it is not always easy to prove who is at fault. If you have been injured, then you need to know your rights. Read on as we discuss what happens after a multi-car accident and how to get the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Multi-Car Accident?
A multi-car accident is when more than two vehicles are involved in a collision. This means there are at least three drivers and often numerous passengers. As the fault is not always easy to spot, then the legality of the situation can become complex. There are several ways this may happen. Here are common types of car accidents:
Rear End Collision
The first is the most common and is when a car is rear-ended by another on a busy road or highway. This then results in another vehicle hitting the back of the rear car.
This can get complicated quickly, as depending on the state and circumstances it can be hard to know who is legally responsible. The more cars are involved, the more complex this becomes.
Head On Collision
A second scenario involves a collision between two vehicles. A head-on collision most commonly occurs when one car moves into the lane of oncoming traffic.
Very often, the force can send one or both vehicles hurtling into oncoming traffic, hitting others. Head-on collisions often involve serious levels of damage and often result in fatalities.
Many multi-car crash accidents occur when people change lanes too quickly on the highway. Other vehicles have to make snap decisions, which can lead to further crashes.
For example, a car may decide to swerve out into a different lane to overtake. They may also undertake in the slower lanes, and if they do so in a blind spot others road users often fail to see them.
Side Impact Collisions
A side impact collision causes a T-shaped crash. It happens most commonly when one car pulls out from a junction, crashing into the side of another. As they move to a halt, other cars then collide with them.
Side-impact collisions can cause serious injury to those positioned on the side of the vehicle that is impacted.
What to Do After a Multi-Car Crash
When an accident occurs, you should stay in the car with seatbelts on. This is important as more vehicles may still crash into the pile-up. Check the medical conditions of everyone onboard then put the hazard lights on.
When the emergency services arrive, let them take you and the passengers out of the car. Make sure you attend the medical team first. Take down the details of others involved in the accident.
This is the section where you will need a car accident attorney to assist you. The driver who caused the crash must pay compensation to those who were injured. However, proving guilt is not always an easy task and few people will confess outright to negligence.
Other factors may also make the case more complex. Below are some factors which may add increased severity to the charges.
- Driving recklessly in bad weather conditions
- Driving under the influence
- Using a cell phone while driving
In some instances, then more than one party may have been at fault which can make the situation even more confusing. An experienced multi-car crash lawyer will help you get through this.
Chain Reaction Events
One of the most common events is the chain reaction. A car stops and another goes into the back of it. Another car then hits that, causing a chain reaction.
This is confusing as people in the middle may not know if they were at fault for hitting a car, or an injured party as they got hit. In most states, the person who hit the first car is the one at fault as they should have had the necessary braking distance and were the ones that caused the chain reaction.
The more cars involved, the more insurance coverage is severely depleted. As the insured person’s company only allocates them a certain amount of coverage, the more people that need compensation, the more people are sharing the same finite funds.
In a multi-car crash, accident investigation teams will try to find out why the crash occurred. This is very often a long process, looking at multiple pieces of evidence and accounts.
They will look at the police reports first, which are an account of the event directly after it happened. Make sure you call the police no matter how minor the accident was, for your own protection. You should also keep a copy of the police report for your own insurance claim.
Investigators will also talk to police officers to see if any other circumstances were involved. These may include DUIs, speeding, drug possession, aggressive driving, cellphone use while driving, or other factors.
Finally, all drivers, passengers, and witnesses will have an interview with them. Their records will also be checked to see if there is a history of unsafe driving. Photographs of the scene will be used if they are available.
When trying to get the compensation you deserve from a personal injury claim in this scenario, witness reports hold a lot of weight. Drivers often have very biased accounts of what went on, mainly because they only have one viewpoint and may be trying to protect their interests.
A witness will have a different point of view and when not involved, will count as an impartial viewer. When multiple witnesses corroborate events it makes the whole case much stronger.
Filing a Claim for a Multi-Car Accident
All the above make multi-car accidents complex. This is why you need to contact a multi-car accident attorney to help you through the process.
One of their main jobs will be to see how many people are at fault. Generally, the more the better for the innocent party filing the claim. This is because one negligent person has limited insurance funds to pay for recompense, so more means a bigger pot is available.
Another issue is proving the extent of your injuries. If you have been physically injured, visible wounds and scars are easy to prove using doctors’ reports. Mental stress, loss of quality of life, and how long physical complications last can be harder to prove.
This makes it vital that you see a doctor immediately. Keep any medical records, including receipts for medical bills.
Getting Help After a Multi-Car Accident
Now you know how liability is determined in a multi-car accident, you need to get assistance. Finding an experienced car accident lawyer should be your top priority.
Katella Injury Attorneys should be your first stop. We deal with all types of vehicle accidents in the Anaheim area. Contact us here to discuss your case today.