What Could Cause a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
Several incidents at once could cause a chain reaction and create a multi-vehicle pileup. Some of the most common reasons this type of accident occurs include:
- Inclement weather. Weather can affect road conditions and visibility. Heavy rain or snow may cause slippery roads or black ice. Smoke or fog can significantly inhibit the ability to see.
- Speeding. Drivers violating the speed limit or not going with the traffic flow present a danger to others on the road. Driving too fast inhibits the driver’s ability to stop in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle.
- Driving while fatigued. Falling asleep at the wheel can be a deadly mistake. If the driver’s foot is on the pedal, they could accelerate and create an even more dangerous scenario.
- Driving under the influence. Alcohol and drugs affect motor function and inhibit the driver’s ability to react to changes in traffic or adequately multitask.
- Driving while distracted. Distractions in or outside of the vehicle are a common problem. For example, adjusting the radio, using a cellphone, eating, and other distracting habits take attention from the road.
Sometimes there is more than one cause of a multi-car accident. There may also be multiple at-fault parties.
Who Is Potentially Liable in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
Every multi-vehicle car accident has unique circumstances, sometimes making it difficult to immediately determine who is at fault. Typically accidents involving three or more vehicles come in two forms. First, it could be a chain reaction where one car after another hits the car in front of them. In that case, there is little or nothing the drivers can do to stop each crash after the initial collision, and the first car to collide is often the driver at fault for all the subsequent collisions. It could also be a combination of varying crashes, making a scene more difficult to decipher.
In a more chaotic scene, the position of the vehicles post-collision may leave very little evidence of who committed the initial violation and unleashed the chain of events that followed. Eyewitness testimonies from the people involved in the accident as well as bystanders are often a valuable form of evidence in a case involving multiple vehicles. During the investigation, police may look for security footage or skid marks on the road. Car accident reconstruction specialists can offer expert opinions as well.
What Should You Do Immediately After a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
You likely felt stunned and confused in the seconds following a car crash. However, if you completed any of the following steps, relay that information to your car accident attorney.
The steps include:
- Contacting the police. If anyone suffered an injury, you should call 911 and wait for first responders to show up.
- Assessing the scene. Look around to evaluate how many cars were involved in the accident and where the initial collision occurred.
- Collecting contact information. Ask the other drivers involved for their names and contact information.
- Documenting the scene. Gather as much information as you can about the location of the accident and any damages or injuries visible.
- Avoiding conversations. Your gut reaction is likely to talk about what just happened to you. However, your best option is to avoid conversations where you could potentially implicate yourself as the at-fault party.
- Seeking medical attention. If you decided you did not need the help of first responders on the scene, you should still go to urgent care within the next few days or schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Your health should be your top priority, but additionally, you need a record of your injuries to prove your claim.
The final step is to immediately contact a car accident attorney to discuss your case details while your memory is still strong. You will want to present any documentation you collected to your attorney to help them build your case.
Factors You Should Consider When Documenting the Scene
During the documenting phase, you can look for specific things law enforcement, the insurance company, and your attorney will want to know about the accident scene.
- Road signs and signals. Were any road signs missing? For example, was a construction site nearby that did not have proper signage? Was a traffic signal not functioning correctly? Any of these things could cause an accident and point to a liable party.
- General evidence. How were the vehicles positioned at the time of the accident? Did you see any debris or extensive damage?
- Signs of law violations. Did anyone involved appear to be under the influence of any substances? Was anyone speeding, tailgating, or changing lanes erratically?
- Eyewitnesses. Did you get contact information from any witnesses? If the police talked to people at the scene, they would write it down in the report.
- Condition of the road. How were the road conditions in the area where the crash occurred? Did you see debris, cracks, potholes, snow, or ice?
Each of these elements can contribute to determining liability. Sometimes, there are multiple liable parties in a single case, which can complicate the legal process.
What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do for You?
The investigation is the key to determining who is liable in any car accident case. The police are the first to investigate the scene of the accident. If they determine who caused the initial collision, they should include it in the police report. Next, when you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider, the insurance company investigates to make a fault determination. Finally, suppose you hire a car accident attorney. In that case, they will also investigate the accident on your behalf, searching for evidence to support your claim that another driver’s negligent actions caused the pileup.
Some other benefits of hiring a car accident attorney include:
- Having someone to represent you in communications with the insurance company and other parties involved in the case
- Having a legal professional walk you through the litigation process
- Having emotional support from someone who understands the severity of your situation
- Having a significantly better chance of receiving a fair settlement during pre-trial
- Knowing your legal representation will not be a financial burden because payment is typically contingent on whether or not you win
If you sustained an injury during a multi-car accident, the auto accident attorneys at Judd Shaw Injury Law are determined to ensure you receive the best possible representation. We are proud to represent our clients aggressively while offering them friendly support. In addition, we offer virtual services so you can meet with us, sign the paperwork, and open your claim all from the comfort of your home. Contact Judd Shaw Injury Law today for a free case evaluation, and allow us to help you get your life back to normal.