Car accidents are often damaging and complicated. Anyone who has been injured in one understands first hand just how horrific the aftermath can be. As though dealing with the injury itself were not bad enough, having to deal with the insurance company and other parties involved just exacerbates the pain and suffering already starting to mount.
If you were in a car accident and have been spared a serious personal injury, or if you have only one other vehicle and insurance company to worry about, you are somewhat lucky, albeit a car accident is never a blessing. However, if you were in a multi-vehicle car crash and were seriously injured, your possible nightmare may have only just begun.
Multi-vehicle car accidents are not as common as two-car accidents, yet they are ubiquitous and happen frequently. Multi-vehicle accidents also tend to be more serious, owing to the nature of them. With more vehicles comes the chance for more damage.
One absolute certainty is that multi-vehicle accidents are more complicated to settle than two-car accidents simply because there are people involved. Thus, multi-vehicle accidents almost always see more property damage and physical injury than two-car collisions, often causing drawn-out legal battles.
There are many factors involved when trying to find negligence in a multi-vehicle accident. There are sometimes more than one driver who is negligent, and there are sometimes more than one driver pointing the finger.
Multi-vehicle accidents usually take longer to sort out; as a result, receiving compensation for damages can take some time. An injured person may sometimes have difficulty collecting at all. That is why it is important that you understand what you should do if you are involved in a multi-vehicle accident.
How Is Fault Assigned in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
Multi-vehicle accidents can be simple or complicated when figuring out who is liable. The simplest of multi-vehicle accidents to investigate is when a car unexpectedly rear-ends the car in front of it; consequently, the suddenness of the crash causes cars behind the second car to rear-end the car in front of them. In this instance, the driver of the first car, the second car in the chain, is often the driver who is liable.
The reason for this is that the driver should have maintained enough distance to the car in front to stop in time without causing a rear-end collision. There is always a possibility, however, that some fault will be placed on the subsequent vehicles that crashed behind it, which will depend on certain variables.
Liability is usually based on driver testimonies, the scene of the accident, witness testimonies, and other variables that must be calculated. These variables include weather conditions, circumstances, and driver negligence, to name a few. For instance, drivers who did not directly cause the collision may also be found negligent if any of them were speeding, distracted, or under the influence.
The people who are responsible for finding fault in a car accident are normally the police, who will fill out a report based on any evidence collected at the scene, and an insurance investigator, who will make a decision based on all available evidence. If a lawsuit is filed, the fault will be assessed by the court.
Multi-vehicle accidents are not always a chain of cars crashing into the back of each other, and there can sometimes be more than one driver equally sharing the blame. One constant is that multi-vehicle accidents are statistically more costly both economically and physically. That is why insurance companies are quite often trying to place blame on the other parties involved.
How Does Insurance Coverage Work in Virginia?
Virginia is considered an at-fault state with the option of adding personal injury protection (PIP), which makes Virginia an add-on no-fault state. With PIP, drivers can file a claim with their own insurance company and collect medical expenses and lost wages no matter who is at fault.
For serious injuries that exceed the limitations of a policy, an injured driver can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or against multiple drivers’ insurance companies if the accident is a multi-car crash. Because Virginia is not a true no-fault state, car accident victims can sue at-fault drivers for both medical expenses and pain and suffering despite filing a claim with their own insurance company.
How Does Negligence Work in a Lawsuit according to Virginia Law?
If you are going to file a lawsuit in Virginia for a car accident, you need to be certain that you can prove fault. Virginia uses a rule called contributory negligence. This means that if you are found at fault in any way, you cannot be awarded compensation for your damages.
Many other states use comparative negligence, which allows a plaintiff to receive the awarded amount according to the percentage at fault. In other words, if a plaintiff is 20 percent at fault, that plaintiff will collect 80 percent of the amount awarded. In Virginia, however, it is all or nothing.
This is why you need an experienced lawyer to handle your case. A competent lawyer will help you collect the necessary evidence, speak with witnesses, deal with insurance investigator and other lawyers, and represent you in court.
What Should You Do After a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
It is crucial after a car accident that you take the right steps to ensure compensation for your injuries in a claim or lawsuit. Too often this is not the case, and those injured get shorted or denied.
In a multi-vehicle car crash, each driver and passenger should remain inside the car with a seat belt on until the police arrive, unless of course being on the road presents an immediate danger. After the police have secured the scene for safety, you should begin to collect evidence if you are able.
Obtain the driver’s license and insurance information of each driver, and include the make and model of each car. Look for witnesses, and get their contact information. You should take pictures of the scene and any skid marks or road hazards.
Write down an explicit account of what happened, including any negligence on the part of any driver involved. When you speak with the police or any other driver or passenger at the scene, do not apologize or state that you are partially to blame. Some people do so out of sheer sympathy or politeness, but it could be used against you in an investigation or in court.
Do not refuse medical treatment at the scene. If you are not taken to a hospital or medical facility directly, make sure to get to one as soon as possible. It is important that you take the proper steps in dealing with your injuries in a responsible and timely manner; otherwise, the insurance company or court may not consider the severity of your injuries.
Call your insurance company, but you should refrain from making any statements. Remember that your insurance company is concerned with limiting the amount of money paid out. Last but not least, call a lawyer. If you are seriously injured in a multi-vehicle accident, the process to collect compensation can be complicated and difficult.
Alexandria Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Represent Clients Involved in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident
If you were seriously injured in a multi-car accident, or in any other type of motor vehicle accident, you need a competent lawyer on your side. The experienced Alexandria car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King, PC will fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.