Any car accident with injuries is upsetting and stressful, but a multi-car accident can be even more challenging. Many cars could be involved, severe injuries, multiple insurance policies, and a long list of attorneys and investigators. Anyone in a multi-car accident should not attempt to negotiate a settlement themselves. Instead, if you have been injured in a multi-car accident in the Chicago area, our Rolling Meadows car accident attorney can represent you.
Multi-car accidents occur in many ways. The following are the most common scenarios where these accidents happen:
When a car going in the opposite direction slams into your vehicle, that is a head-on collision. Sometimes the negligent driver will slam into another car head-on, bounce off, and then hit more vehicles. Head-on crashes are less common than others but are one of the deadliest.
A rear-end crash happens when a driver hits another from behind, usually in stopped traffic or at a red light. The rear-end crash can cause a chain reaction of several vehicles hitting each other.
In a rear-end, multi-vehicle crash, the fault usually lies with the first driver who hit another driver from behind. However, there are occasions where the driver in front is at fault, such as if they slam on their brakes suddenly for no reason or were following too closely.
A pile-up crash involves three or more vehicles, frequently crashing together or lying on top of one another. Multi-vehicle pileups may happen in bad weather, such as fog. Drivers on the highway in the fog may not see each other when traffic slows, causing many cars to hit and pinball off of each other.
Establishing fault in a pile-up collision is complicated, and your case will be aided by retaining a personal injury attorney quickly. Your attorney may rely on eyewitness accounts, dash cameras, security camera footage, and other evidence to establish fault.
Side-impact crashes occur when a car hits the side of one or more other cars. These multi-vehicle crashes often happen because of failure to yield at a red light or stop sign.
While anyone hurt in a multi-vehicle accident in Rolling Meadows deserves money for their losses, only those who prove another party was responsible are eligible for compensation. To prevail in multi-vehicle accident litigation, you must prove the following elements:
First, as the plaintiff, you must prove that the other party owed you a duty of care. For instance, in a multi-car accident at an intersection, the duty of care could be that another driver owed you a duty of care not to run the red light.
Second, you must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. In the example above, the breach would be the driver who ran the red light and hit your and other vehicles. The breach could be proven in many ways, such as red-light camera video, tire marks on the road, and eyewitness testimony.
In most accidents, breaching the duty of care constitutes negligence, the failure to exercise the same duty of care that another person typically would in the same situation. In the red-light example, another prudent driver in the same situation would likely have stopped at the red light, as the law requires.
Next, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of your injuries. So, if the defendant ran the red light, hit your driver’s side door, and broke your arm, you must show that that negligent action caused the injury.
Last, you must show that the driver’s negligence caused damages. If you broke your arm, have $10,000 in medical expenses and $5,000 in lost wages, those are two elements of damages that you can be reimbursed for in a claim or lawsuit. In addition, you are entitled to pain and suffering, disfigurement and lost wages.
After any car accident with injuries, there are essential steps to follow. In a multi-vehicle accident, you should do the following:
There are many reasons that multi-vehicle accidents happen. Your attorney and their crash investigators may look for one or more of the following as a cause of the accident:
Approximately six million car accidents happen in the US annually, and 20% are because of bad weather. Even if bad weather, such as rain, fog, or snow, causes an accident, one or more drivers could still be liable. For example, a driver who speeds on a snowy road in Chicago and hits another vehicle could be found at fault.
Drinking alcohol causes many car accidents, with about 30% of traffic-related deaths between 2004 and 2018 attributed to drunk driving. Consuming alcohol affects reflexes and decision-making, so you should always refrain from driving. Anyone drunk in a multi-car accident can face both criminal and civil consequences.
The most dangerous time to drive is in the evening, with about 50% of deadly crashes happening in the dark. There are often more cars on the roads in the evening after work, and reduced visibility also could be a factor.
People who drive recklessly make hazardous decisions when they are driving that affect others’ safety. For example, a driver who wants to pass on a two-lane road may do so on a curve in limited visibility, which may cause a severe multi-vehicle crash.
Not every form of reckless driving is because someone is impatient or aggressive. Did you know that distracted driving is also reckless driving? Over 3,100 people died in car accidents in 2020 because of reckless driving.
Illinois has a comparative negligence law for determining fault after auto accidents. This means you can recover damages in a car accident only if you are less than 50% liable for damages or injuries.
In a multi-vehicle accident, more than one driver could be at fault, so many investigators and insurance companies could be involved in determining who is responsible for how much of the accident. During insurance negotiations, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will make a settlement offer based on what they think their insured’s negligence is.
Determining fault when more than two vehicles are involved requires thoroughly examining all crash evidence. If more than one person is blamed for what happened, their insurance providers will typically be financially responsible for the injured party’s losses.
Police responding to the accident scene often initiate the process of determining fault. The police could interview eyewitnesses, drivers, and passengers. They also may check dash cam videos and phone footage anyone involved shares. Some Chicago-area intersections have camera footage that helps determine fault.
As evidence is collected, law enforcement uses the information to see how the accident unfolded until they may decide how the accident happened. Insurance companies for the involved drivers will also review the crash evidence to determine liability.
The multi-vehicle crash case is assigned to insurance adjusters who study the evidence to decide liability. If it is determined that a driver is liable, their insurance will usually pay for them based on the policy terms and other factors. If an at-fault driver does not have insurance, they may have to cover the losses out of pocket.
Determining who is to blame for the multi-vehicle crash matters because Illinois has a comparative negligence system for its car accident laws. In most situations, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance is financially liable for your damages and injuries. In some two-car accidents, determining fault may be easier than when many more vehicles were involved.
For example, understanding who was initially at fault can become a highly complex puzzle in a classic multi-car pileup on an interstate in the fog. Only insurance companies, personal injury attorneys, law enforcement, and other stakeholders can make the complex determinations required to assign blame in these complex accidents.
Ensure that an experienced personal injury attorney represents you after you are involved in a multi-vehicle accident. That is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
After a multi-car accident, you will probably be confused, stressed, and uncertain about who to blame. That is when you should retain a personal injury attorney. At SJ Injury Law, our Rolling Meadows car accident attorneys may help you receive compensation for your injuries, so call (847) 434-3555.
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