Most car crashes involve two vehicles that collide with each other. However, we have handled several cases that involve multiple cars involved in a single crash; these are commonly referred to as “multi-car accidents” or “multi-car pileups”. Car crashes like these tend to be far more complicated than a standard two vehicle collision, and there are many factors that determine who was at fault.
When several vehicles are involved in a crash, there is a greater potential for severe and catastrophic injuries. It is also more likely that there will be more than one injured individual, and sometimes you could have numerous injuries depending on the circumstances of the case.
In situations like these, it is very important for someone who gets hurt to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This is not the kind of case that you want to handle on your own, as there will be multiple insurance companies trying to point the finger away from the at-fault drivers, and the sooner you get an attorney involved, the better the chances that you will be able to recover the just compensation you deserve.
What Causes of Multi-Car Accidents?
There are a number of different scenarios that could trigger a multi-vehicle crash, some of the most common include:
- Rear-End Chain Reactions: A lot of multi-car pileups happen simply because one car collides with the vehicle in front of them, setting off a chain reaction that involves several more vehicles. Chain reaction accidents usually happen on highways or roads where vehicles travel at higher speeds. Although the driver of the first car that rear ends the vehicle in front of them is usually looked to as the one at fault, it could sometimes be another drivers fault if, for example, they slowed down abruptly and did not have functional brake lights and/or they slowed down because they were texting on their phone.
- Careless Lane Changes: Multi-vehicle accidents may happen because of a driver that changes lanes on the highway without checking their blind spots, causing the initial crash. Texting while driving is often the culprit for this type of collision as drivers are so distracted by their phones that they tend to weave back and forth between lanes or straddle the center line.
- Reckless Driving: A motorist who is driving recklessly is usually in a mindset in which they have willful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others. Unfortunately, this type of situation often does not and well. Multi-car pileups can result from various forms of recklessness, such as drunk drivers who are speeding excessively, vehicles who are drag racing with each other, and drivers who are attempting to evade arrest.
- Falling Asleep at the Wheel: Driving while drowsy or fatigued can be extremely dangerous, and the worst possible result is that the driver falls asleep at the wheel. If this were to happen while traveling on the highway, it can cause the car to cross over several lanes and crash into a number of other vehicles. This is also a danger if someone has a seizure or another medical event that causes them to lose consciousness.
- 18-Wheeler Jackknifes: Large semi-trucks are sometimes involved in multi-vehicle accidents, especially when the truck jackknifes on the highway and blocks several lanes of traffic. This can happen so quickly that vehicles in other lanes do not have a chance to stop. Jackknifes can be the result of speeding or driving too fast for conditions, or they can also happen because of a tire blowout or another type of vehicle failure.
Who is Liable in a Multi-Vehicle Accident?
A number of factors are looked at in determining liability for a multi-car crash. It is important that all witnesses be interviewed as soon as possible. Even more importantly, in multi-party crashes, is to document the scene and physical evidence involved in the crash. Skid marks, gouge marks, and other physical evidence at the scene will disappear within days of the crash – so hiring an attorney early is your best option.
Every case is unique, and a thorough investigation will be required to examine all of the specific factors and get to the bottom of what happened and which party (or parties) were at fault. Some of the facts and pieces of evidence that may be reviewed include:
- Photos of the scene that show skid marks that lead to the point of impact, vehicle damage, debris from various vehicles, etc.
- Any dashcam or other video footage of the accident that may be available.
- The testimony of eyewitnesses.
- The official police report.
- Cell phone records that might show that one or more of the drivers was texting at the time of the crash.
- Any other records of traffic violations, such as drunk driving or speeding.
Injured in an Auto Accident in Alabama? Contact a Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a multi-vehicle crash, you need someone who is not only aggressive, but has the financial resources available to go toe to toe with the insurance companies. Hedge Copeland Law Firm has Board Certified Trial Attorneys who have over 30 years of experience handling these types of cases – Call for a free consultation and case assessment.
To get started, call our office today at (251) 432-8844 or send us an online message. We look forward to serving you!