Car accidents are always dangerous and often result in injury, but with pile-up accidents, there is rarely a case where no one gets hurt. Knowing who is liable in these accidents is essential to making sure you get the resources needed to recover properly. It is especially difficult to determine liability in a pile up. Typically, even though 2 cars start the accident, as more cars come it becomes unclear who hit who. In the end, it will be up to the insurance companies and the court to determine who was responsible for the accident, but there are still things you can look for.
What is Liability?
Liability in a car accident means that the party who was negligent or responsible for the accident will be the one required to pay damages in case. If someone is deemed to be “at fault”, insurance will sometimes cover the damages, but in pile-ups where there are multiple injuries and damaged vehicles, it may not cover everything. Being able to determine fault will be essential in these cases to make sure you get the full amount you need to recover.
Liability in Multi-Car Accidents
Traditional rear-end car accidents are much easier to determine liability in: the person who hits the other from the rear is the party at fault, with a few exceptions. In a multi-car accident, a car will still be at fault for hitting another, already stopped or crashed car, unless it was pushed by another vehicle. In these cases, it will typically be the first vehicle that failed to stop and causes the chain of cars crashing that will be held liable.
There is often a misconception that the party that caused the accident initially is the party completely responsible for the accident. While this may be true in some cases, typically there is more than one party responsible. Although someone may be ticketed, they may not be the party responsible for your injuries. Cars that come in after the fact may be the ones who are truly liable for your injuries. In some cases, there will be multiple parties responsible for one person’s injury. For example, if a person is stopped in a pile up, and is it by two other cars after the fact, both cars that hit them will be responsible. This may require you to contact multiple insurance companies in order to make a claim, and one may pay 60% of the damages while the other pays 40%.
Whatever the case may be, there are steps you can do to make sure you get the most for your claim. The first thing is to gather any police reports and copies of tickets that were issued. In a pile-up, law enforcement will almost always be on the scene, so unlike some other types of accidents, there will always be a police report. In some cases, injuries will be severe enough that you may not be able to do anything. If that is the case, be sure to just take it easy and wait for medical help; ensuring your safety and health is the most important thing. However, if you are able to be sure to get the insurance information of all the parties involved.
Depending on what state you are in, the laws will vary slightly, like in a no-fault state. However, Arizona is not one of these states and your accident will typically be covered by negligence law. In the event of an accident, be sure to contact insurance companies to get initial payment, but it is more than likely you will be eligible for even more. Contacting an experienced auto accident attorney can help you get the full amount you deserve and help get your life back together. Damages from pile-ups can be severe, and medical bills are often high. Don’t hesitate to get the help you require.