Nearly six million motor vehicle crashes occur in the U.S. every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly one-third of those crashes are multi-vehicle collisions, also known as pile-ups, which are defined as crashes involving three or more vehicles. Liability for these accidents — which often result in extensive vehicle damage, physical injury and even death — is often shared by the drivers according to their degree of fault.
Determining fault in a multi-vehicle accident can be extremely difficult, requiring the assistance of an experienced car crash attorney. Accident reconstruction experts may have to be called in to figure out how the crash unfolded. Which vehicle started the chain of events? Was the driver of that vehicle being negligent or reckless? Or maybe the whole thing started with something as simple as a blown tire. Weather conditions or road conditions also could have played a role. What about drivers later in the chain — could they have avoided colliding with the other cars?
Answering these questions is crucial because in Florida, fault is assigned according to a pure comparative negligence system. That means in a personal injury lawsuit, an injured party’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage of that party’s fault. If a jury finds a plaintiff sustained $100,000 in damages but finds the plaintiff was 20 percent at fault, the plaintiff will receive $80,000.
In a multi-vehicle pile-up, liability for damages could be assigned to several parties. Insurance adjusters will review police reports, medical records and other evidence. From there, the insurance company may offer payouts, which are usually lower than could be recovered in a lawsuit. In multi-vehicle scenarios, every driver could have a different insurance company and a different level of insurance. Some may have no insurance at all, as Florida law does not require all drivers to carry liability coverage. Insurers typically will fight to pay out as little as possible, often by trying to assign blame in a variety of ways. That’s why injured people may need to assert their rights through personal injury lawsuit.
There is no easy way to determine who will pay for damages in a multi-car pile-up. Chances are, multiple parties (or their insurance companies) will be liable for portions of the damages. You can best protect yourself by retaining an experienced Florida lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Based in Tampa, the trial attorneys as Frank Charles Miranda, P.A. are dedicated to representing injured people. We have handled many cases involving multi-car collisions and we’re ready to hear your story. To speak with our trial attorneys, please call 813-254-2637 or contact us online today.