Personal Injury Firm in Los Angeles
Multi-car accidents tend to be rather serious for several reasons which are very particular to these types of collisions. The majority of all traffic collisions involving three or more vehicles involve multiple impacts, which at the very least doubles the risk of injury or property loss for those involved. According to information collected by the National Safety Council, there has been a recent spike in multi-car collisions involving serious injuries and fatalities.
Let’s dissect the components of a multi-car collision. There is a first, or primary, impact which occurs when an at-fault driver crashes into another vehicle. Then there is a secondary impact which comes after the initial impact. This chain reaction of collisions usually happens when other drivers are desperately trying to avoid hitting one another or other objects. Multi-car accidents, however, are often worsened precisely– and ironically– by drivers trying to avoid a collision in the first place.
Multi-car accidents tend to occur on freeways rather than on city streets. The higher speeds on freeways make it hat much more difficult for drivers to avoid and react to what are typically sudden and unexpected collisions. There is a pattern when it comes to multi-car collisions, and there are several circumstances which are usually seen in these cases. Some reasons why multi-car collisions are so common include:
The most complex and fascinating issue in cases involving multiple vehicles is how to identify the negligent or at-fault driver. These cases tend to involve high dollar amounts, and special investigators may be assigned by the insurance companies to untangle what can truly become a logistical mess. The question, therefore, in determining liability, will depend on two legal concepts called duty of care and proximate cause. Below is a summarized explanation.
Duty of care: All drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and behave in a reasonable manner behind the wheel. If a driver is found to violate this responsibility, he or she may be found liable for the accident.
Proximate cause: Once issues regarding duty of care have been assessed, a clear connection between that breach and the accident in question needs to be established. Simply put, it must be proven that a driver’s behavior was the proximate cause of the accident.
Another important thing to consider is the issue of comparative vs. contributory negligence. The majority of states abide by the rules of comparative negligence, which means that a claimant involved in an accident may get compensation against the at-fault driver even if the claimant is partly responsible. On the other hand, states that abide by the rules of contributory negligence mean that a claimant who is determined to have even just 1% of fault is ineligible for any compensation.
Multi-car accidents often result in multiple claims and, therefore, usually become severely contested, drawn out affairs. For one, there’s no real standardized method for assigning liability in these types of collisions. Sometimes, one driver will be deemed 100% responsible, and other times multiple drivers may share in the responsibility.
To make sense of this, let’s consider an example. Imagine that one person rear ends another. In doing so, they inadvertently push the car they’ve just hit into another one in front of it. In this case, the driver who initiated the initial impact is responsible for the damages to both.
There are instances when more than one driver can be found liable for contributing to an accident. An example would be when one driver is speeding and runs a red light, but then that driver gets hit by yet another driver who also ran a red light. This second driver then hits a third vehicle in the process. In this case, both drivers who ran their respective red lights would share a degree of responsibility.
The natural tendency is generally to place the blame on the striking vehicle, yet that won’t always necessarily be the case. Below are a few more considerations to keep in mind when determining liability:
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a multi-car collision, an attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 213 927 3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.