Many people assume that determining who is at-fault for causing a car accident should be straightforward. And in some cases, their assumptions are correct: You look at which driver behaved negligently, what damage their actions caused, and assign compensation accordingly. And in a state like Florida, our No-Fault laws can often make this process even easier, as no matter who caused the accident, your own insurance provider will cover any damages that fall within a certain monetary threshold.
But when it comes to determining fault in the case of a multi-car accident, things can get much more complicated. In a scenario where fault and subsequent damage can be more happenstance or reactive, it can be more difficult to determine who should be held responsible for the damage to your car and any injuries you suffer.
How Multi-Car Accidents Occur
There are many ways a multi-car accident can happen. One of the most common cases is when a vehicle brakes suddenly to avoid colliding with the car in front of it, but the vehicle behind them does not brake in time. This can lead to the last vehicle in line hitting the car in front of it, effectively forcing it to rear-end the car it was originally trying to avoid. Sometimes, especially on freeways where cars are traveling at higher speeds, this can lead to many multiples of cars becoming involved in the accident.
In other cases, inclement weather, construction zones, and other road hazards may affect drivers’ visibility and maneuvers. When this happens, drivers may drive or react erratically, leading multiple cars to mimic the dangerous actions of the cars in front of it and cause a multi-car accident. In an attempt to place fault elsewhere, drivers may argue they were just following the flow and behavior of the traffic in front of them, which ultimately led them into a dangerous situation.
Multi-car accidents can be just as serious—and often even more severe—than accidents involving just two vehicles or a single vehicle. The initial impact can lead to a variety of serious injuries you might expect from an average car accident, like whiplash, lacerations, broken bones, and even brain injuries or spinal cord damage. But the nature of some multi-car accidents makes them even more dangerous because there may not always be just a single, initial impact.
In the example of a line of cars not managing to brake in time and rear-ending each other, if your vehicle is involved in the pileup, you may experience multiple force impacts as each car hits the line of vehicles. This can lead to further damage and further injury. But who do you hold responsible for every subsequent reaction and its effects?
Factors for Determining Fault in a Multi-Car Accident
It stands to reason that the initial driver who failed to practice their duty of care in order to keep the vehicles around them safe should be held responsible for the multi-car accident. But in our ongoing rear-ending example, which driver should be considered the “initial” driver? The one at the front of the line who braked or was already stopped, or the car behind them who braked even more severely to avoid them? Herein lies the problem with determining who started the domino-effect of car crashes.
It’s important to realize that every multi-car crash scenario is unique. It could be that the first car was stopped somewhere in the road they shouldn’t be, causing the car behind them to react erratically in an attempt to avoid them. Or it could be that the first car in line was stopped legally, but the car behind them was traveling too fast or not paying close enough attention to brake safely. In each of these scenarios, from an outside perspective, it could be more straightforward to assign fault. But no matter how the accident occurs, it’s likely that any drivers involved in a multi-car accident are going to look to place blame elsewhere, because they assume they have the option to do so.
This is when it becomes immensely important to gather evidence of how the accident occurred. And one of the strongest pieces of evidence any accident scenario can have is eye-witness statements. Witnesses to the accident will be able to tell law enforcement and a court of law where the cars involved were on the road, how they were driving, and in what order they hit each other. Traffic cameras or other nearby security footage can often provide such evidence as well.
But if there’s no such luck in your multi-car accident case—meaning there may not be any witnesses or cameras to turn to—then you face even greater challenge in figuring out how to get compensated for your car damage and mounting medical bills.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Multi-Car Accident Case
If you’re involved in a multi-car accident and suffer serious injuries, the last thing on your mind is going to be interviewing witnesses or gathering other evidence to support your claim that you had nothing to do with causing the accident. Instead, all your time and energy will go into making sure you safely recover and get back to your life as normal. But when all the drivers involved in the accident—as well as their insurance companies—are trying to place blame on someone else, you may get caught in the crossfire. This can result in having unjust blame placed upon you, which is why it’s so important to recruit the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
An experienced car accident and personal injury attorney has the know-how and resources to make sure the evidence in your case points to fault originating from its rightful source. They can work directly with the law enforcement officials who arrived on the scene to take statements, as well as reach out to certified professionals to analyze the accident and its cause. The right lawyer will have intricate knowledge of Florida state driving laws, the workings of insurance companies, and know your rights to adequate compensation. The right lawyer will put you and your needs first by taking the responsibility of fighting your case off you.
The Whisler Law Firm has the right lawyers to fight your multi-car accident case on your behalf. We have decades of experience working with clients who have suffered an array of car accidents, some involving many cars and thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. We know how to handle the behavior of insurance companies when they attempt to find fault for accidents by unjust means, and subsequently grant their customers or others involved less compensation than they deserve. We can even work with your doctors and other medical professionals to make known the severity of your injuries and the reality of what it will take to address them. And we do all this because we care about your well-being.
We’re so adamant about putting you and your needs first that you owe us absolutely nothing to take on your case unless we help you win it or help you negotiate a settlement of reasonable compensation. And that process starts with an entirely free consultation with an expert from our team. Call 833-529-5677 or fill out our easy online form to schedule yours today.