Pile Up Accidents—Determining Fault In A Multi-Car Collision

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Pile Up Accidents—Determining Fault In A Multi-Car CollisionAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car accident occurs once every 60 seconds. According to drivers on the 405, the rate may actually be much higher.

An accident on a busy freeway often leads to a messy pile-up.  With every car that adds to the collision, the possibility for injuries and deaths skyrockets. Determining who was at fault for the initial and subsequent collisions, and whose actions contributed to the wreck can be a complicated process that takes weeks to sort out.

Investigating the Accident

Every driver has a duty to everyone else on the road to drive reasonably and responsibly under the circumstances. When a person neglects this duty by speeding, driving while intoxicated, driving recklessly or committing some other traffic infraction, that driver is responsible to everyone else who was harmed by his or her actions.

In the case of a pile-up, it is not as simple as finding the person who started the chain reaction and holding him or her responsible for all injuries. Even drivers who did not start the multi-car accident can be held responsible for injuries caused by their own negligence or inattention.

For example, if a person was speeding and couldn’t stop before slamming into the back of an accident already in progress, it wouldn’t matter if that driver didn’t start the initial accident. If that driver’s accidents hurt someone who was already involved in the collision, that driver could be responsible for those injuries.

Theories of the Accident

When an accident involves multiple drivers, insurance companies get aggressive in investigating the causes of the accident. If these companies can shift the blame to drivers other than their insured, they stand a better chance of not paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the collision.

Between the insurance investigators and the professional police investigators, there may be multiple theories of liability for a single accident. For example, all investigators will look for infractions like speeding, following too closely, cell phone use, or a history of impaired driving in order to determine who may have been at fault. Insurance companies will check for any citations or tickets issued as a result of the wreck, and may use that information to deny liability.

In addition, investigators may call accident reconstructionists to scientifically determine the speeds and braking patterns of all vehicles before the crash using data from the scene. These experts will take photographs of the scene, including damaged guardrails, skid marks, and other evidence from the collision.  Using this information, they can recreate what happened, from the speeds of the vehicles to what each driver would have seen out the front windshield.

After an Accident

Because multi-car accidents involve so many people, it is uncommon for them to settle. No one insurance company wants to take on the liability from a ten-car accident, and often these cases go to trial.

When you are faced with a complicated trial and multiple theories of liability, you need competent, professional legal advice. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., we help accident victims by thoroughly investigating their cases. Our experienced staff of legal and medical professionals help you recover your losses, including medical expenses, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.

For a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, call (310) 289-2600 or use our online contact form to have your case reviewed today.

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