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Who is Liable in a Multiple-vehicle Accident?

Home » Who is Liable in a Multiple-vehicle Accident?

Establishing responsibility in a two-car automobile accident is relatively straightforward. Generally, the dispute centers on which driver is more liable, and the cause is fairly evident. It is more complicated when multiple vehicles and multiple causes are involved. Understanding the reasons these accidents occur can help your car accident attorney argue on your behalf and win the compensation you need. In a typical Multiple-vehicle automobile accident, one car collides with another and causes a chain reaction. Often times, a primary accident occurs, after which other vehicles fail to avoid it and cause additional wrecks. Common causes of multiple-vehicle accidents include the following:

  • Speeding and aggressive driving, which are themselves dangerous and increase the likelihood of colliding with a primary accident
  • Inclement weather, including rain and fog, which make it more difficult for drivers to see other vehicles and accidents
  • Driver fatigue and driving under the influence, which lessen reaction time and can cause multiple-vehicle accidents
  • Tailgating, which is one major cause of chain reaction accidents
  • Road hazards and unsafe roadways
  • Failure to stop or yield, including failure to yield an extra lane when a primary accident has occurred

Injuries can range from mild to life-threatening and fatal, including:

  • Bruises
  • Lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Broken bones
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Coma
  • Paralysis
  • Herniated discs and spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Internal organ injuries

These and other injuries can result in substantial medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and more. Having an experienced automobile accident attorney is essential to ensuring the at-fault party or parties pay for your damages.

Georgia courts use what is called a comparative fault model to apportion liability for multiple-vehicle accidents. Following a trial, the relative fault of all parties involved in the accident is first determined. Any victim who is less than 50% at fault for causing an accident may recover for his or her injuries. But the court will reduce the victim’s damages by whatever percentage of fault is attributed to that person. If you suffer $200,000 of injuries, but were determined to be 10% at fault, your total award is $180,000. Of your $200,000, 10% fault equates to $20,000 less. Your fault determination can therefore substantially affect your amount of compensation. An attorney will argue for as little fault as possible on your behalf in order to maximize your recoverable damages.

After a multiple-vehicle accident, you will almost certainly be contacted by not one but several insurance companies. The claims adjusters may try to convince you they are on your side or that you don’t need an attorney. But they will pressure you into accepting what is often a low dollar settlement amount. These settlement offers typically do not account for long-term complications and expenses resulting from your accident. The adjuster may try to obtain a recorded statement from you, which can later be used to dispute your claims.

Remember, the goal of the insurance companies is to minimize payouts to accident victims. They will work hard to convince you to “admit” fault or attest to things which may not be true. It’s therefore important to retain legal representation as soon after an accident as possible. You can then direct the insurance companies to speak with your attorney.

Let Our Experienced Multiple-vehicle Accident Attorneys Handle Your Case

After a multiple-vehicle accident, your first priority is getting the medical attention you need. Insurance companies want to take advantage of your condition and convince you to settle for less than you deserve. Let the attorneys at Schneider Hammers handle the legal work involved with your case. Contact us today.