Many car accidents involve only two vehicles so it is relatively easy to determine the driver who is most at fault. However, when multi-vehicle collisions occur, it can be difficult to discern which driver or drivers caused the accident and who should be held responsible for your personal injuries.
If you were injured in a multi-vehicle collision, it is important that you speak with an experienced Baton Rouge car accident attorney at Simien & Simien. We have helped victims recover for their injuries in a variety of motor vehicle accidents. We can investigate your situation and determine which parties may be responsible for the damages you suffered.
Common Causes of Multi-Vehicle Collisions
Multi-vehicle collisions are more likely to occur in congested areas where one or multiple drivers commit a driving error and other vehicles do not have adequate time to respond. Some common causes of multi-vehicle collisions include:
- Speeding - Speeding can cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle, causing him or her to crash into one vehicle that is then propelled into another.
- Impaired driving – Drinking alcohol can alter perceptions and lower inhibitions, which could result in drifting into another lane, crashing into another vehicle and setting off a chain reaction of collisions.
- Distracted driving - Today’s drivers have many possible distractions that take their minds and hands off the road, such as cellphones, GPS devices, car radios and passengers. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can dramatically increase the risk of a dangerous collision, like a multi-car accident.
- Weather - Many drivers do not reduce their speed when there is inclement weather. This is incredibly dangerous because their tires may not get as much traction in rain, ice or snow. Poor weather can also reduce visibility, increasing the likelihood of crashing into the person in front of you.
Determining Who Is at Fault
There are multiple factors involved in determining who is at fault for a multi-vehicle collision. For instance, if the pileup was the result of a chain reaction started by one car, the driver of that one car could be held liable. If the first car that was hit in a line of vehicles stopped suddenly, that driver could be held liable because the driver immediately behind him or her did not have time to stop to avoid a collision.
If the pileup was started by a car with a mechanical defect or malfunctioning part, the manufacturer of the part or the car itself could be held liable.
Claims adjusters and investigators for personal injury law firms will conduct their own investigations to weigh all of the factors in the crash to determine who is liable. They will take some of the following steps to investigate:
- Interviewing the drivers in the accident
- Reviewing pictures of the accident scene
- Using accident reconstruction technology
- Reviewing police reports
- Contacting eyewitnesses for statements
- Reviewing footage from red light or traffic cameras
- Analyzing the damage to vehicles
When Multiple Parties Are at Fault
When multiple vehicles are involved in an accident, multiple parties could be at fault for the accident.
This is why Louisiana has a comparative negligence law to govern these situations. This law states that each at-fault driver be held responsible for his or her percentage of fault. This means that if one party is 30 percent at fault, he or she is responsible for 30 percent of your total compensation award.
The law also explains what will happen if the victim is partially responsible for his or her injuries. In these situations, your compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are 40 percent at fault, your compensation award will be reduced by 40 percent.
Louisiana is a fault state, which means you will file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company to obtain compensation. Louisiana also allows car accident victims to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver instead of pursuing insurance compensation. This can be advantageous because the cost of your damages may exceed the limits of the at-fault driver's insurance policy.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
When dealing with insurance companies, it is vital that you have competent legal representation on your side to level the playing field. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Simien & Simien, LLC can handle negotiations with the insurance company and pursue just compensation for you. We work on a contingency basis and only get paid if you obtain compensation.
Call (800) 374-8422 to get started on your claim today.