What happens if I'm in a car accident involving multiple cars?
Getting into a car accident is scary. It's even scarier when more than two cars are involved. These are known as "multi-car" accidents.
Multi-car accidents can be caused by a chain reaction. A chain reaction means three or more cars rear-end each other within seconds. If this happens to you, it's important to know if you need to file a claim and how.
There are almost six million car crashes a year because there is a car accident every 60 seconds. A lot of these are multi-car crashes and are very dangerous. Accidents involving multiple cars are more likely to cause serious injuries and sometimes death.
Chain reaction car crashes can be described like this:
"Driver D --> Driver C --> Driver B --> Driver A
"Driver B rear-ends the car in front of him, which is being driven by Driver A. Because Driver C was following Driver B too closely and could not stop in time, Driver C also rear-ends Driver B. The same situation occurs behind Driver C, with Driver D being unable to stop in time to avoid rear-ending Driver C. Another wrinkle is that the force of the collision between Driver B and Driver A could send Driver A’s vehicle forward into the next vehicle in the line, and so on, causing another chain reaction."
All accidents in Texas must be investigated to determine who was at fault. You also need to know whose insurance company to file a claim with.
Texas is a "comparative fault" state. This means that even if you were partially at fault in an accident, you may still qualify for money from the accident. But if you're found to be 51% or more at fault, your insurance company can deny your claim.
It's not always easy to figure out who's at fault. Even if a driver knows it was their fault, they probably won't admit it. That's why insurance companies send trained people to figure out what happened.
Some common causes for multi-car crashes include cell phones, falling asleep, drunk drivers, speeding and bad weather. Police will ask everyone who was involved in the accident to tell their side. If fault is determined, you can file your claim with the at-fault person's insurance company.
Sometimes it's not just one person who's at fault. When there are a lot of cars in the accident it gets harder to determine the "negligent act." The negligent act is what caused the crash. One driver could have been speeding and another driver may not have noticed because they were on their cell phone and so on.
There could also be "mitigating circumstances," which means valid reasons that explain the accident. If there are, it's sometimes not possible to assign fault to anyone.
Mitigating circumstances could include hitting a patch of ice on the road and not being able to stop. Or a person might suffer a heart attack while driving and rear-end the person in front of them, setting off a chain reaction.
If you’ve been involved in a multi-car accident, call Justinian and Associates today.