When more than two vehicles are involved in an auto crash it can be very traumatic, with serious injuries and property damages. Although these accidents mostly occur on high-speed interstates, some take place on smaller roads as well. These accidents can happen very quickly and leave the victims trying to figure out exactly what happened and wondering who is responsible.
What Should I do After a Multi-Vehicle Crash? After a multi-vehicle accident all those involved should remain in their cars until help arrives, unless it is too dangerous to do so. If there is fire or smoke, victims should exit their vehicles and wait. Only once it is safe to come out should you gather information such as license plates, insurance information, and phone numbers. Taking photos and video is also a good idea.
Even if there are no obvious injuries, it is essential to contact the police and to seek medical care. Things like whiplash and internal injuries are not immediately apparent and can worsen without timely treatment. After law enforcement arrives, it is important to get copies of the police report as soon as possible, as this can provide details that point to liability.
Insurance companies should also be notified right away, although it is best not to go into detail until a car accident lawyer has been contacted. Providing details about the damages, injuries, or speculating about liability is not recommended.
Multi-vehicle accidents can create complex crash scenes that can be hard to decipher, and sometimes it is a chain of events that caused the crash. For example, although one driver made the first wrong move, others may have contributed by speeding or not paying attention to the road. Although police officers will go over everything and try to reconstruct what happened, in some cases reconstruction specialists are needed. These specialists are often engineers, and their reports can take months to complete.
In Virginia, contributory negligence laws apply to multi-car crashes. If a driver is found to be partially at-fault for an accident, their claim can be denied. Even if they are found to be only a little bit responsible, they may not be entitled to damages. This is the main reason why it is best to provide facts but remain neutral when questioned about the accident when speaking to police and insurance companies.
Damages and Insurance
Damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain, and suffering may be recovered by victims after liability is determined. In cases of reckless driving, some victims may be able to claim punitive damages.
Insurance is a big issue in multi-car crashes, especially if the damages are extensive. When there are several drivers involved, there may be several policies to contend with as well. One driver may have a very basic policy, while another has more substantial coverage. Some victims may need to use their own policy’s underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage as a resource.
Pursuing an UM/UIM claim is more complex than other auto insurance claims, since a driver may have coverage under more than one policy. Other complicating factors include if drivers have medical coverage under their collision insurance, and when negligent parties are covered under company liability insurance policies.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Victims of multi-car accidents may be able to file insurance claims and personal injury suits against other motorists liable for causing crashes. Available funds to pay for the damages can come from the victim’s own auto and health insurance, plus the liability insurance of the responsible driver, or the owner of the other vehicle. It is important to keep in mind that a victim cannot receive damages for the same claim twice from two different insurance agencies.
When filing a lawsuit, the victim should take care to sue any drivers that are potentially liable for causing the accident. It should all be done in the same lawsuit to ensure that all liability possibilities are covered and to ensure consistent results.
Our Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Fight to Get Car Accident Victims the Compensation They Deserve
Multi-car accidents can lead to life-changing injuries, damages, and complicated insurance and personal injury claims. Let an experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyer help you with your multi-car accident case. Contact the East Coast Trial Lawyers by calling us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we help clients in Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.