Who is Negligent in a Multi-Car Collision?
A multi-car accident occurs when more than one vehicle is involved in a crash, sometimes in a chain-reaction accident. Often, these accidents happen because the vehicle in the back (Vehicle A) becomes the driving force of the collision, hitting another car (Vehicle B), which is then pushed into still another vehicle (Vehicle C).
The overriding issue with a multi-car collision is one of fault. Since there are several drivers involved in the accident, the question comes down to whether just the first driver was negligent or if there was more than one driver at fault in the accident.
If you’ve been involved in a multi-car collision, you can probably assume that the aftermath is going to be complicated. Not only do these types of accidents sometimes involve more damages and injuries, but the question of negligence becomes muddied, and victims may not receive the compensation and care they deserve. Here is what you need to know about multi-car collisions in Kentucky and how you can help for your claim and injuries.
Duty of Care and Causes of Multi-Car Collisions
Every driver on the road is tasked with a certain duty of care, or responsibility, to operate their vehicle safely for the sake of other drivers, pedestrians, and property owners. A driver who fails to exercise the proper degree of care, either intentionally or unintentionally, could be found negligent in an accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about a third of all auto accidents each year, or 2 million, involve multiple vehicles. Some of the most common causes of multiple vehicle accidents include:
- Weather – When weather conditions deteriorate, roads become hazardous and often lead to dangerous accidents involving multiple vehicles.
- Speeding – Operating a vehicle at an unsafe speed can lead a driver to lose control and set off a chain reaction collision.
- Drowsy Driving – When a driver falls asleep at the wheel, even for a moment, they swerve into the path of other vehicles moving at a high rate of speed, causing a major accident.
- Intoxicated Drivers – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal, but it is also the cause of dangerous and deadly accidents on our nation’s road.
- Distracted Driving – Increasingly, distracted driving or driving while texting is becoming one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in the country.
- Police Chases – Cars involved in high-speed chases from the police have caused some dangerous accident. Because of this, some cities now have rules restricting or prohibiting these types of pursuits.
Who is Negligent in a Multi-Car Collision?
The biggest issue with one of these cases will be the finger-pointing. Unless one party is clearly negligent or admits fault, there may be a question of negligence, with no insurance company making an offer to pay for medical bills or other damages. Because a multi-vehicle accident often involves more damage and higher insurance payouts than a single or two-car accident, it’s no wonder that insurance companies want to be sure that they’re really obligated to pay before they begin writing checks.
The question of negligence in a motor vehicle accident varies by state, and Kentucky uses the pure comparative negligence rule. What this means with a multi-car accident is the amount of compensation you will collect equates to your percentage of fault in the accident. For example, if you have $100,000 in damages but were found to be 30% at fault in the accident, you may only be able to collect $70,000.
If you’re involved in a multi-car collision, the first order of business, as with any accident, is to tend to injuries. If you, your passengers or anyone else involved in the multi-car accident is injured they should receive medical attention immediately. It is also important to document as much about the accident as possible. The police should be notified right away, so they can investigate the accident and write a report. You should also collect the names of all drivers, witnesses, and obtain the insurance information from other drivers. Also, take as many pictures as you can of the accident scene – your car, other cars involved, the scene surrounding the accident (i.e. roadway, skid marks, guardrails, etc.) and anything else that may have caused the accident.
Comparative negligence complicates multi-vehicle accident cases, particularly when there are several insurance companies involved and fault is in dispute. If you’ve been involved in a multi-vehicle accident in Kentucky, it’s important that you discuss your case with an experienced Kentucky auto accident attorney who can help protect your interests. Contact the Ron Aslam Law Office at 502-581-1676 for a free consultation.