A multi-vehicle collision, also called a “pile-up” or “chain reaction accident” involves three or more vehicles. Usually these begin when two vehicles collide and other vehicles on the road cannot avoid the incident because they are unable to stop in time or otherwise avoid them. These types of accidents are more common than drivers and passengers realize and are very dangerous because of the heightened risk of fires and explosions along with reduced protective mechanisms in the first vehicles involved.
Determining fault is an essential part of the financial recovery process for victims of these accidents. Many circumstances have potential to cause a multi-vehicle accident, common ones include:
- High-speed chases
- Driving under the influence
- Vehicle malfunction
- Road conditions and bad weather
- Drowsy driving
- Speeding and reckless driving
Fault in an accident must be proven by evidence. The process include reviewing law enforcement reports, photographs, witness testimony, road and weather conditions, vehicle damage, marks and debris at the scene. While police may ticket the driver(s) deemed negligent, when it comes to seeking recovery, liability may be assigned to multiple parties.
Florida follows the rule of pure comparative negligence which means that in multi-vehicle accidents, the amount of compensation awarded to an injured person is proportional to the driver’s percentage of fault. In most cases, the insurance adjuster for an at-fault driver will review the evidence and assess a settlement value. However, insurance companies often find ways to delay or deny claims, offering a low value to victims. Sometimes, the amount of insurance available can determine how much can be recovered from the at-fault party.
An experienced personal injury attorney’s role is to review the evidence, including insurance policies, and decide which at-fault driver(s) are best to pursue to seek compensation from. Although settlement negotiations with an insurance company often reach satisfactory results for clients, sometimes a lawsuit is necessary to accomplish that.