What to Do After a Multi-Car Wreck or Multiple Car Accident?
So 3 more cars were involved in an accident. What you do soon after a multiple car accident will determine how successful you will be in your outcome. Determining liability can be difficult enough when there are two cars involved; however, when multiple vehicles are involved the situation can become even more complex. A vehicle may only hit another vehicle because they themselves were impacted from behind, which commonly occurs in multi-car pile-ups.
Ultimately, who is liable for a crash will be determined on a case-by-case basis, either by the insurance companies or by a court. However, there are some general principles that can help you determine your legal rights in multiple vehicle accident situations. To determine fault, the accident investigator will review the police report and take with the police office that investigated the accident.
The driver of the car that rear-ends a leading vehicle will almost always be considered at least partially negligent. Every driver has a duty to follow other vehicles at a safe distance. The reason for this is because car drivers sometimes suddenly, and unexpectedly, slow down or come to a stop — to avoid a hazard in the road, for example, or simply because of traffic congestion. You are expected to have enough distance between you and the car in front of you to prevent a collision if such an unanticipated stop becomes necessary
Common Causes of Multi-Car Accidents
Driver error is almost always at play in car accidents, but these contributing factors are especially common in multi-vehicle crashes:
Weather: Bad weather conditions often result in low visibility and slippery roads. Snow, ice, rain, and fog are just some of the conditions that can quickly turn an otherwise safe road into a hazardous one.
Speeding: Driving fast is the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. At high speed, one wrong turn of the wheel can set off a chain reaction of bent steel, broken glass, and serious injuries.
Falling Asleep: When a driver falls asleep, even for a split second, there’s no one driving the car. It only takes a second for a driverless car to drift into another lane, careen off the road, or plow into the car in front.
Intoxication: Drivers under the influence aren’t just the stereotypical drunk driver. DUI can include the use of prescription medications and illicit drugs, as well as alcohol.
Cell Phones: No list of causes for multi-vehicle accidents is complete without including cell phones. Talking, texting, taking photos, and checking email are some of the leading causes of collisions. Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers.
Police Chases: High-speed police chases often cause collisions. Although many cities now restrict police chases to crimes involving serious felonies, there are still instances of officers or suspects losing control of their vehicles during a chase.
Other Distractions: Loud music, conversations with passengers, reading maps, eating, putting on makeup, and general boredom or inattention can also lead to accidents.
What to do if you are in a Multi-Vehicle Car Wreck
Anytime you are in a multi-vehicle car wreck, you should:
- Assess injuries and call an ambulance if needed,
- Call the police and request the come make a police report,
- Take a PICTURE! Photograph the vehicles and scene so that the order or impacts may be determined later by an accident, expert if necessary,
- Move to a safe area if possible so you do not get hit again,
- Do not give any recorded statements to adjusters,
- Call your own insurance and report the collision,
- Call a car accident lawyer for advice.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to purchase coverage to protect you and the people in your vehicle. As previously stated, obtaining Underinsured Motorist coverage may be your only saving grace is multiple parties are fighting for the small pot of money. Your own passenger can sue you for damages if you cause the collision in addition to other drivers. So, you need higher liability insurance limits to protect you from this. Second, raising your PIP and underinsured motorist coverage limits can afford you more protection for when someone else causes a multi-car accident and does not carry enough coverage. Talk to your insurance agent before you get in a wreck to get these protections. Afterwards is too late.
Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Martin Hernandez PA are bilingual as well. Just call us at 813.755.9500 for your free consultation.
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