A multi-car collision can occur suddenly. These incidents are unexpected and can lead to serious injuries. It is a scary scenario for everyone involved.
When multi-car accidents occur, determining liability can be challenging. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we have represented victims of multi-car accidents for years and can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Here, you can learn more about determining liability in these accidents and how we can help with your case.
What Is a Multi-Car Accident?
When you hear of a multi-car accident, you may think it means five or more vehicles; however, a multi-car accident occurs when more than two vehicles are involved. It may involve just three or dozens of vehicles on the road.
You may hear other terms to describe this situation, such as chain-reaction crashes, vehicle pile-ups, or multi-vehicle collisions.
Accidents like this often occur in congested areas where people travel at high speeds, such as highways and major roadways through a city. In these situations, drivers often move quickly and are very close together.
Several types of collisions can occur that involve more than two vehicles. Some of the most common include the following:
Rear End Accidents
A rear-end accident occurs when one driver hits the back of another vehicle. When the first impact occurs, it causes the car to lurch forward and hit a third vehicle. Depending on the initial car’s speed, this chain reaction can continue through multiple vehicles.
Head-on collisions are self-explanatory. Usually, one vehicle drifts over the dividing line and strikes a vehicle driving in the opposite direction in the other lane. These accidents result in the front end of two vehicles colliding.
Side-Impact or T-Bone Accidents
This accident occurs when an accident between two cars sends them into the side of another vehicle. It is most commonly seen at busy intersections.
This accident often starts with one vehicle clipping another’s bumper. The vehicle struck veers into a different lane, colliding with a third vehicle. Additional vehicles may be struck or have to veer to avoid the accident, causing even more collisions.
Another situation when this occurs is if someone slams on their brakes to avoid hitting something ahead of them. In this case, the vehicle following does not have sufficient time to stop before colliding with the car that stopped suddenly. In this situation, a chain reaction of rear-end collisions may occur.
Understanding Comparative Fault in Florida
When determining fault in a multi-car accident, Florida follows a “pure comparative fault” law when determining liability.
Florida law allows the court to assign contributory fault to all drivers involved in the accident. Even if one vehicle caused the initial collision, other collisions and damages could be the other drivers’ fault.
Contributory fault allows a judge or jury to assign fault of 0% to 100% to the drivers. Also, more than one driver can be assigned fault at the same or different percentages.
Evidence Used to Determine Liability in a Multi-Car Accident
It is possible to recreate an accident after it occurs to determine liability. Evidence that can be used for this includes the following:
- Skid marks on the road near the accident scene
- Surveillance footage from businesses or locations near the accident
- Eye-witness accounts of what happened
- Tire damage that shows sudden skidding and braking
- Mechanical issues with the vehicle that initiated the collision
- Road conditions
- Medical evidence that proves certain factors may have caused the injuries sustained
Receiving Damages Under Florida’s Comparative Fault Law
If your Florida car accident attorney litigates your damage claim successfully, the damages you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. It is also important to note that you are limited to how much you can receive from each driver based on the percentage of fault they are assigned.
Proving Driver Negligence in a Multi-Car Accident in Florida
If you are involved in a multi-car accident in Florida and experience an injury, your attorney will base your negligence claim. The attorney has to prove several things to prove another driver was negligent.
One is that the other driver had a duty to operate their vehicle safely and follow Florida laws. Second, the driver breached their duty by operating their vehicle unsafely or unreasonably. It must also be shown that the breach resulted in the accident and that you were injured or sustained other damages because of this.
Your legal claim will be unsuccessful if your attorney cannot prove these things.
How Florida’s “No Fault” Laws Impact Your Claim for Compensation
Several factors may determine liability. However, if you experience minor damages, you can file a PIP (personal injury protection) claim with your auto insurance provider.
Florida requires all drivers to have PIP coverage of up to $10,000. After a car accident, you file a claim with this coverage first, regardless of fault.
With PIP, 80% of your medical bills are covered, and 60% of lost wages for the following:
- The person insured
- Anyone driving the insured party’s vehicle
- Relatives who lived at the same residence as the insured
- Other people struck by the insured party’s vehicle
- Passengers in the insured party’s vehicle
To receive PIP coverage, you must file your claim within 14 days of when the accident occurs. The insurance company can investigate your claim but must release the funds in 30 days or less.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help with Your Multi-Car Accident Claim
If you were involved in a multi-car accident, you have rights. These rights include recovering compensation for your losses. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free consultation.