Determining fault in any auto accident can be challenging. But when you have an accident that involves three or more cars, the situation becomes even more complex. In many cases, multiple parties share some liability, making it difficult to determine who should pay damages and how much should be paid out.
This is why you shouldn’t try to tackle these issues yourself when you are injured in a car accident. Let us help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 now to discuss your legal options.
Witness Retellings of the Accident
When looking at liability, police officers, investigators, and attorneys representing all involved parties may look at witness retellings. Each driver will have their own story of how the accident occurred, and hopefully, there will be other witnesses to stop to provide their insight. Though it’s unlikely that any one driver’s retelling is completely accurate, investigators can often piece together a true series of events by combining different stories.
Looking at the Location of Damage
Identifying where each car was damaged during the crash is another excellent way to figure out who caused a multi-car crash. Consider, for example, a driver sitting at a red light. A car comes up behind them driving far above the speed limit and rear ends them, and due to their speed, the first driver’s car is pushed into the intersection. A car coming from the right sees them, tries to stop, but still dings them on the right side.
The driver who rear ended the stopped car may point the finger at the driver who had the right of way, saying that they should have stopped and should have been paying attention. However, looking at the stopped car, it is clear that the vast majority of the damage is on the rear. The car that rear ended them is totaled. The car that hit them on the side has minor damage. Based on this, investigators can see that the rear ending driver holds most of the liability for the accident.
When No One Wants to Take Responsibility
Be prepared for a fight when you are dealing with a multi-car accident. More parties doesn’t necessarily mean a greater pool of money for victims. It simply means that everyone involved has more people to blame. No insurance company wants to pay more than they have to, so if they have the opportunity to blame another party, they will jump on it.
That’s why you need an attorney. None of the insurance companies involved have your best interests in mind. They simply want to get out of the situation while paying as little as possible. Your attorney is the only one who puts your needs first and sorts out the evidence to figure out who should be held responsible for your expenses. After a crash, you’ll have medical bills, lost income, and property damage to pay for. Without an attorney, you will have a hard time getting the compensation you need to meet those obligations.
Figuring Out Liability
When your attorney starts working on your case, they will look at who had an obligation to you and who failed to meet that obligation. Drivers have an obligation to drive in a careful, reasonable way that takes others into account. In the example above, the driver behind the stopped car had an obligation to the other driver and everyone else on the road. They violated that obligation when they did not stop in time. As a result, they may be liable both for damages to the stopped car’s driver, but also the person who hit the stopped car on the side.
What about the car who struck the stopped car on the side? That is a more nuanced question. Yes, they too have an obligation to take reasonable steps to avoid accidents and stay safe. If they were not distracted while driving, were moving at a legal speed, and immediately tried to stop when they saw the car enter the intersection, they may have fulfilled their obligation and have no liability. If they did not stop because they expected the car to move out of the way or tried to stop too late because of a distraction, they may have some liability. In multi-car accidents, it often comes down to the specific details.
Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today
Have you been hurt in a multi-car accident? If so, you need an experienced attorney who can figure out who is liable for your losses. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.