Multi-car accidents happen quite frequently. In fact, approximately 61 percent of car occupant fatalities occurred in multiple-car accidents in the year 2019. Unfortunately, it can be tricky to determine the at-fault party in a multi-car accident.
The at-fault party in a multi-car accident is anyone whose negligence contributed to the occurrence of the event. However, a multi-car accident may be a result of the actions of multiple negligent parties. For this reason, it is not easy to determine the at-fault parties. Nevertheless, you can work with a personal injury lawyer to gather evidence and reconstruct how the accident occurred to help determine who is at fault.
How do You Determine Fault in a Multi-Car Accident?
Determining fault in a multi-car accident requires a great deal of evidence. This is because there are several ways a multi-car accident can occur. For instance, more than one driver can act negligently. The injured parties may also be at fault for the accident.
Common causes that lead to multi-car accidents are:
- Use of drugs or alcohol prior to or while driving
- Violation of traffic laws
- Driving recklessly
- Poor visibility
Even if there is poor visibility on the road, drivers are generally expected to exercise a duty of care. The main at-fault party in a multi-car accident is typically the one who initially caused the chain reaction that affected all the vehicles. For instance, if a driver rear-ends a vehicle and that car collides with another, then the first driver is most likely the at-fault party.
Unfortunately, you cannot always trust that the insurance company will correctly determine who is at fault in a multi-car accident. However, a personal injury lawyer can aid with a thorough investigation. A lawyer will also help to protect your interests and ensure that the fault does not wrongfully shift to you.
Who Pays for Damages After a Multi-Car Accident?
If you live in an at-fault state, the liable parties, through their insurers, should meet all the damages in a multi-car accident. For no-fault states such as Florida, you can recover damages directly from your insurance provider and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
In some instances, you may also file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if your insurance does not cover all the damages. However, you are only able to sue a liable party if your case meets a certain threshold, including:
- The medical costs amounted to at least $1,000
- You suffered serious injuries, such as broken bones or loss of body functions
- You sustained permanent disfigurement
- The accident was fatal for a loved one
A lawyer can also help you determine an accurate value for your damages. Many injured parties often get under-compensated and have to pay damages out of their own pocket. To maximize your chances of winning your claim, you will need proof that the at-fault party was negligent. A personal injury lawyer can help you gather:
- Eyewitness statements
- Police records
- Medical bills and records to prove your injuries and their cost
- Video footage of the accident
- Pictures from the scene of the accident
What Happens If the At-Fault Party Is Not Insured?
It can be challenging to know who should compensate you if the at-fault party is not insured. The situation is similar if the at-fault party flees the scene of the accident. The solution to recovering damages lies with your insurance policy.
Some states require auto insurance providers to offer their clients uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage will help pay damages if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist or if the at-fault party flees the scene. However, in Florida, uninsured motorist coverage is not a requirement.
You can look at your policy with a car accident lawyer to help you better understand your coverage. This may help you recover damages from your insurance provider if you are eligible.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Who is at fault in a multi-car accident? This is a question you need to ask if you have suffered property damage or sustained bodily injury as a result of a car accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you examine your case and gather evidence to determine the cause of the accident. This will help you know which party or parties were negligent, and if you can pursue claims against them. Call Dolman Law Group today to receive a free consultation.