One vehicle hits another car that hits another until the chain reaction leads to a massive pileup. These accidents often involve several plaintiffs and defendants who file claims, counter-claims and cross-claims against each other. If this sounds complicated, that is because multi-vehicle accidents are some of the most complex types of actions to litigate. Berenson Injury Law has handled numerous multi-vehicle accident claims in its close to 40 years. We carefully unravel the intricate web of liability to pursue all people and companies who are responsible for your injuries and all sources of damages you are entitled to.How Multi-Vehicle Accidents Occur
Multi-vehicle collisions typically result from a series of driving mistakes, sometimes compounded by weather and environmental conditions. For example, ice or rain may make the roads slick. Heavy traffic is another common factor, as impatient drivers attempt to aggressively maneuver through the traffic jam or unexpectedly come upon it. Construction or an earlier accident can force traffic to merge and cause an unanticipated slowdown.
In all these scenarios, human error remains the primary reason that cars pile up. These errors include
- Driving too close behind the vehicle in front so the driver does not have time to stop
- Speeding that prevents the driver from braking in time
- Texting or another distraction that delays the driver’s reaction to an impediment
- Drunk driving, which affects vision, depth perception, coordination and judgment
Multiple drivers in a multi-vehicle pileup complicate liability and damages determinations. Sometimes just one driver is at fault for the crash. For example, a driver who sideswipes a line of drivers may be 100 percent responsible for the damages incurred by everyone. More commonly, several drivers share fault. For example, take the example where one driver rear-ends another and a third driver then runs into the disabled vehicles. Liability will likely be divided between the driver who ran into the other and the one who subsequently crashed into them in that latter example.
When two or more defendants are to blame, percentage of liability and corresponding damages amounts are apportioned to each. Therefore if damages are valued at $100,000 and a jury assigns fault as 10 percent to the plaintiff, 40 percent to one defendant and 50 percent to the other, the plaintiff is entitled to receive $90,000. Both defendants are generally jointly and severally liable, meaning responsible for the entire amount, but if both are solvent, the plaintiff can collect $40,000 from the first and $50,000 from the second.Multiple Plaintiffs Face Insurance Policy Limits
Multiple plaintiffs can create a complex damages issue as well. Insurance companies generally have a per person and per accident cap. The insurance company is responsible to pay only up to the liability limit available under the particular plan.
For instance, if the at-fault driver carries the minimum required amount of liability insurance, that policy will cover up to $30,000 for each injured individual, up to $60,000 for all injuries caused by the crash, and $25,000 for all property damage that occurred in the crash. If a single defendant in this example crashed into a car occupied by a family of four and another occupied by a couple, six plaintiffs might file claims for injuries, the total of which will most certainly exceed $60,000.
Time is of the essence, therefore, in a multivehicle collision. The first person to file has a superior claim to damages over people who file later. To maximize the monetary recovery, our attorney investigates every potential resource of damages. We layer policies to recover the most out of each one. We also negotiate with health care providers to reduce medical bills related to the crash, a strategy that is especially important when several plaintiffs have claims on limited funds.Learn More About Recovering from Multiple Defendants and Creating a Priority When Multiple Plaintiffs are Involved
Our Fort Worth Dallas injury lawyer protects your rights to damages if your crash involves several vehicles. Schedule a free case evaluation with Berenson Injury Law to discuss strategy for how you can attempt to maximize your damages recovery.