Chain Reaction / Multi-Vehicle Accidents
After a chain reaction or other multi-vehicle accident, recovering compensation for your injuries presents unique challenges: Which driver (or drivers) caused the accident? Could some other, non-driver-related factor (such as a vehicle or road defect) have been involved? How can you prove who was at fault, and how can you convince their insurance company to pay?
At the Hollander Law Firm, our lawyers have experience in helping clients recover compensation in multi-vehicle auto accident claims in West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida. We handle cases involving chain reactions, pileups, intersection collisions and all other types of multi-vehicle accidents, and we handle cases involving vehicles ranging from motorcycles to 18-wheelers. While multi-vehicle accident cases can present unique challenges, they can offer unique opportunities as well, and our attorneys can take advantage of these opportunities to seek maximum compensation for your injury-related losses.Proving Fault After a Multi-Vehicle Accident in West Palm Beach, FL
As with all types of accidents, in order to recover financial compensation beyond the minimal coverage provided by your personal injury protection (PIP) policy, you need to be able to prove that someone else was at fault for your multi-vehicle accident. Depending on the circumstances involved, this task involves either: (i) proving that one driver was to blame for the entire accident, (ii) proving that multiple drivers contributed to causing the collision, or (iii) proving that some other factor caused or contributed to your injuries.
In order to determine who is liable for your injuries, it is important to conduct an investigation at the scene of the accident as soon as possible. Types of evidence that may help establish fault in your multi-vehicle accident include:
- Vehicle Location and Orientation – Where was your vehicle in relation to the other vehicles involved in the accident? Did one vehicle rear-end another to start a chain reaction? Did two vehicles crash head-on? Or, did one car, truck or SUV sideswipe or T-bone another, leaving other drivers with no place to go?
- Skid Marks, Vehicle Damage and Other Physical Evidence – Skid marks can show how fast vehicles were traveling at the time of a crash, when drivers applied their brakes and where each vehicle was located when the chain of events began. The location and extent of the damage to each vehicle and other forms of physical evidence can help prove liability in multi-vehicle accident cases as well.
- Traffic, Dash Cam and Security Camera Footage – In some cases, video evidence will be available to show exactly what happened and who was to blame. If your multi-vehicle reaction was caught on video by a traffic camera, dash cam, security camera or phone, obtaining a copy of the footage could be the key to quickly securing just compensation.
- Eye-Witness Testimony – If your accident was not caught on video, other drivers, passengers and pedestrians may be able to testify as to what they saw happen. Eye-witness testimony can be extremely persuasive evidence, especially when multiple witnesses recount the same version of the events leading up to a crash.
- Documentary Evidence – Beyond investigating the scene of the accident, in many cases an investigation will involve seeking to obtain documentary evidence from various companies. For example, if one or more of the drivers involved in the accident was distracted, obtaining copies of their cell phone records could confirm that they were on a call or texting at the time of the crash. Likewise, if one of the vehicles involved was a commercial truck, the trucking company’s records may show that the driver was unqualified or that he or she had spent too many consecutive hours behind the wheel.
- Other Forms of Evidence – Depending on the circumstances involved, multiple other forms of evidence could be available as well. With our attorneys’ experience in multi-vehicle accident cases, we can work quickly to gather the evidence we need to help you win just compensation.
Until recently, in cases involving chain reactions and other multi-vehicle accidents, victims could seek to recover 100 percent of their losses from any driver (or a third party) that played a role in causing the collision. However, Florida abolished this “joint and several” liability rule in 2006, and today, each party’s liability is determined based upon his, her or its percentage of fault in the accident.
Let’s look at an example involving a three-car collision: You stop in heavy traffic on the highway and all of a sudden you feel a tremendous force from behind. You have just been rear-ended, and upon exiting your vehicle, you see that the vehicle behind yours was rear-ended as well.
An investigation reveals that the driver at the back of the accident was distracted and didn’t see the middle driver apply his or her brakes. The investigation also reveals that the middle vehicle was following your vehicle too closely. Based on the evidence, the distracted driver is deemed to be 75 percent at fault, and the tailgater is assigned 25 percent liability. Your losses are $100,000.
What does this mean for you? Under Florida’s law of comparative negligence, you would be entitled to recover $75,000 from the distracted driver and $25,000 from the tailgater. This means that you will have to deal with both drivers’ insurance companies to fully recover your losses. While this adds an extra step to the process, it can be beneficial in cases where one (or both) drivers are uninsured or underinsured. In any case, you will need to be able to prove both drivers’ liability, and to do this. you will need to work with an experienced West Palm Beach auto accident attorney.Schedule a Free Initial Consultation at the Hollander Law Firm
If you suffer from serious injuries caused by a multi-vehicle accident in South Florida, our West Palm beach auto accident lawyers can help you recover just compensation. To learn more in a free, no-obligation initial consultation, please call 888-751-7770 or contact us online today.