Being involved in a car accident is stressful, especially when you must determine the at-fault party, file a claim, and fight for compensation. Things could become more stressful when involved in a multi-vehicle collision since establishing fault in a multi-vehicle accident is challenging. With the help of an attorney, it is easier to prove fault and receiving the compensation you deserve despite the extent of complications associated with multi-vehicle accidents. Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney for a detailed assessment of your situation and first-rate legal counsel.
Everything You Need to Know About Multi-Vehicle Accident
A multi-vehicle accident is the collision of several vehicles. It is alo also known as a pile-up accident, especially when six or more cars are involved. These accidents are common on highways with high traffic moving in the same direction. This makes it difficult for drivers to stop safely during an accident, resulting in a collision with the cars ahead.
Multi-vehicle accidents are common on roads with reduced road visibility due to fog, snow, or rain. Under these situations, drivers need to be careful and alert, but some drivers are not aware of how dangerous these roads are and drive carelessly.
In most accidents of this nature, drivers do not have enough time to decide and avoid hitting the vehicle ahead of them. Most of these drivers hit the brakes when it's too late, skid because of panicking driving, or swerve into other lanes. Sometimes one of the drivers swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid a collision only to end up in a horrible chain reaction. That's why a multi-car accident is referred to as one of the deadliest types of accidents.
Causes of Multi-Vehicle Collision
Several factors can lead to a multi-vehicle collision. However, particular aspects cause this type of accident. Below is a brief description of the common causes of a multi-vehicle crash.
Driving in High Speed
If a driver is traveling at high speed and does not keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, there is a less chance to slow down to a safe space and avoid an accident if the other car comes to a stop. This will cause a chain reaction, especially if the rear vehicle is a truck and the cars in the front are smaller vehicles.
Driving Under the Influence
Any impairment, whether caused by drinking excess alcohol, use of illegal drugs, or a side effect of a prescription drug, can alter a driver's focus level. Anyone driving under the influence cannot effectively determine whether the distance between his or her vehicle and the one in front is enough to bring the car to a safe stop, increasing the possibility of an accident. Intoxicated drivers also cannot maintain a safe speed or react to any hazard on the road.
Distracted driving among younger drivers is becoming a warring cause of auto accidents. Once a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, there are chances of causing a multi-vehicle accident. Distracted driving is caused by applying makeup, adjusting the radio's dials, and snapping pictures behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving can be more hazardous than driving under the influence. Once a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, he or she will likely put more effort on the gas pedal and crash into the car in front. They might veer out of their lane and crash into the vehicles on the left or right in other situations.
Adverse weather conditions like dust storms, fog, and heavy rain usually compromise other vehicles' visibility on the road and anything that might be happening around. Apart from that, heavy rain and ice cause the road to be slippery and contribute to multiple car crashes.
It is easier for a multi-vehicle accident to escalate if an impatient driver causes a wreck in a construction zone. Most accidents of this nature are caused by drivers who try to squeeze into tight spaces available due to the ongoing construction.
What You Should Do in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
The decisions you make in a multi-vehicle accident have a significant effect on how you will be compensated. The essential thing to do is safeguarding your safety and collecting enough evidence to help in your compensation claim. Below is a detailed description of what you should do after a multi-vehicle accident.
Stop and Do Not Move Out of the Vehicle Until It'sIt's Safe to Do So
You might be tempted to move your vehicle to a safe distance to avoid further damages to it if you can still drive your car after a multiple-vehicle accident. This would not be advisable since you might cause traffic congestion or further injuries to other victims involved in the accident.
The best thing to do is remain at your current stop and only move out of your vehicle until you are assured that it is safe to do so. Trying to force yourself out of a wrecked car can worsen your injuries. Therefore, you should wait until the emergency team arrives or other people at the scene save you.
Call Emergency Services and Wait Until You Are Attended to
Contact the emergency services if you can and let them attend to you. In most cases, eyewitnesses usually call medical emergency services after an accident if the victims cannot manage to do so.
Please note, your adrenaline can make you feel to be alright, but you should wait until the emergency medical service providers confirm that you are safe. This will allow the medical team to check on you and look for severe injuries that might be life-threatening. They will also offer the necessary medical attention needed at that time.
Take Note of Other 'Drivers' and Witnesses' Information
Taking note of the other drivers' or eyewitnesses' information is essential in an accident. It provides relevant references needed during your compensation claim. Take note of their phone numbers, insurance card number, vehicle registration number, and other relevant information that might help you later on.
Make an Accurate Police Record
Once the police arrive at the scene of the accident, make sure that you tell them exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you are not sure of specific facts, tell that to the officer. Speculating, guessing, or misstating certain information is not recommendable since it might undermine your compensation claim. If you are asked whether you are injured, and you are not sure, say that you are not sure rather than saying no. Apart from that, ensure that all statements made by other drivers involved in the accident are accurate.
Take Pictures of the Accident
Nowadays, cell phones have good cameras and could be of assistance in collecting evidence in an accident. You should take pictures of the whole scene of the accident, including all visible damages on your vehicle. You should also take photos of the injuries that you suffered from the accident.
Keep a File
It is recommendable to keep your accident-related documents and information together once you are involved in an accident. This includes other driver's contacts, eyewitnesses' contact, and the name and phone number of the claim adjuster you will be dealing with.
Protect Your Rights
Perhaps the most crucial thing you should do after a multi-vehicle accident is to consult an attorney. Your attorney will protect your rights and ensure that no valuable evidence is destroyed. In most cases, insurance companies at risk of being held liable for an accident want to take statements immediately after an accident to undermine your claim. However, with the help of an attorney, you will receive the right advice regarding this kind of information and other issues related to your compensation claim.
The good thing with a personal injury attorney is that most of them work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, there will be no legal fees needed unless your attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.
Proving Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
The first step in your compensation is determining who was at fault for the multi-vehicle accident. This can be complicated since many people are involved in the accident, and anyone can be liable for the accident. If one party admits the fault of the chain reaction, this process can be less challenging. However, if there is no one to take the blame, your attorney and expert witnesses will have to consider several factors to assess who initiated the chain reaction. Here are several ways that you can prove fault in a multi-vehicle accident.
Demonstrating that the Alleged At-Fault Driver was Negligent
One of the terms used in a compensation claim is "negligence." This term means the failure of a driver to act with the due care needed in driving. This kind of care is referred to as the "duty of care." If a driver fails in their duty of care, they are liable for any damages that result. Some of the factors that demonstrate that an alleged at-fault driver was negligent include:
- Driving while under the influence
- Swerving in and out of the lane dangerously
Elements like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be verified using BAC tests and prove that the driver was impaired, hence the accident. Other aspects like tailgating, swerving in and out of lanes dangerously, and speeding can be verified using traffic footage. Your attorney should help you access these pieces of evidence and present them to the court.
Presenting The Evidence Collected in the Accident
Apart from the evidence described above, there is other evidence that you can use to prove that a particular driver was at fault in the multi-vehicle accident. For instance, you can use the information noted in the police report and the one presented by eyewitnesses to prove that a particular driver initiated the multi-vehicle chain reaction. That'sThat's why it is recommendable to collect these pieces of evidence to make a strong compensation claim.
Determining Fault using the Location of the Damage on Your Vehicle and Other Vehicle
The location of damage can tell whether you are liable for a multi-vehicle accident or not. For instance, if your vehicle's rear part is damaged, this proves a rear-end accident, and the cars at the back probably are liable for the accident. In a chain reaction accident, the immediate rear vehicle does not necessarily have to be responsible for the accident. The car that initiates a rear-end collision in a multi-vehicle accident can be the third or fourth rear vehicle, depending on how many cars were involved and the accident’s nature.
If the multi-vehicle accident was initiated by a side-sweep accident, the vehicle that moved from its lane and hit one of the cars should be held responsible for the accident. This means that your car or one of the cars involved in the accident should be damaged at its side to conclusively decide that a particular car was responsible for the accident.
Demonstrating that You Suffered Damages from the Accident
Once you are involved in an accident, there are chances that you will incur damages from the injuries sustained. You have to provide relevant evidence showing that you suffered common damages like medical damages, pain and suffering, loss of wages, and loss of consortium.
While proving medical damages, you should present medical bills and receipts from your treatment. These receipts resemble the proof that the expenses indicated were incurred and should be reimbursed by the at-fault party. Receipts also prove that medical services were rendered at a specific date and time. That's why you should keep these documents safe to avoid missing the necessary proof needed for your reimbursement.
You can use other evidence to prove your pain and suffering after a car accident injury. You can use your medical records if it includes a doctor's diagnosis and a complete description of the physical pain you suffered. If you have visible injuries like swelling, bruising, laceration, and photos of your injuries, you can effectively convey a graphic picture of your suffering.
While establishing the amount of psychological or emotional pain suffered through your injuries, you can present testimonies from your family and friends and a psychologist's opinion if it may be needed. Keeping a personal injury diary that records your feelings and describes the challenges associated with your recovery can be relevant evidence as well.
When proving your lost wages, you have to attach all relevant supporting documents as your evidence. This includes a doctor's note, paystub, other wage documents, and a letter from your employer.
Finally, to receive financial compensation for the loss of spousal benefit either by death or injuries caused by the multi-vehicle accident, you will have to include your name in the personal injury claim that your spouse has filed. Your name will appear as an extra plaintiff in the legal pleadings, and you will be making various demands related to the spousal's benefit that you've lost. You can prove your loss of consortium in the following ways:
- Providing relevant evidence that your marriage was stable and loving
- Providing evidence that you and your spouse lived together full-time
- Provide evidence that your spouse provided care and companionship
- Include evidence of the different household services that your spouse performed
- Include evidence showing various activities that you and your spouse enjoyed together
Settlements in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
It might be challenging to establish how much victims should be compensated in a multi-vehicle accident since several people are usually liable for the accident. Fortunately, California has established a way to settle claims in multi-vehicle accidents using the pure comparative negligence rule.
Under the pure comparative negligence rule, injured parties can collect damages even if they are 99% liable for the accident. Therefore, the amount that you will receive depends on your percentage liability of the accident. Therefore, if you were 10% liable for the accident, this makes you eligible for 90% of the total compensation made after the accident.
You have to prove that the other motorists involved in the accident owed you the duty of care, breached it, and caused your accident to maximize your recovery award. Using the pure comparative negligence rule in your settlement claim is complicated. That's why it's advisable to call and hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. Your lawyer will help you understand how it works and receive the maximum benefit you deserve.
Find a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Near Me
If you have been injured in an accident involving multiple accidents, contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm immediately. We offer free non-obligatory consultation and will work hard to regain your pre-accident financial condition as soon as possible. We can speak to insurance companies involved on your behalf as you focus on recovering from your injuries. Contact us today at 702-996-1224 and let us start working on your case.