How Is Compensation Calculated in Multi-Vehicle Accidents?

by Staff | December 21st, 2020

Most car accidents involve just one or two vehicles. But some involve three, four, or more vehicles. These are often referred to as “pile-ups” and they frequently occur when drivers lose control in heavy traffic or when inclement weather reduces visibility or stopping distance.

Getting compensation after accidents that involve just two vehicles isn’t always easy, but it’s typically straightforward. The victim and their lawyer just need to prove that the other driver was negligent and that the crash directly caused their injuries and pain and suffering.

However, multi-vehicle accidents are different, as two or more parties may share some of the blame for the crashes. When this happens, each involved party must be independently evaluated to determine their overall level of liability. This is known as pure several liability in Indiana, and compensation is judged according to comparative fault.

What Is Pure Several Liability?

When accidents and injuries involve multiple parties, each party must be assigned a percentage of fault. That level of fault is taken into account when damages are being assessed for victims.

For example, when a driver gets hurt in a three-car pileup, two other drivers may be held liable. First, a driver two vehicles back in the line of traffic was texting and driving. He didn’t see the vehicle in front of him slowing down, which caused him to crash into it. However, the vehicle he crashed into was driven by someone who was following the lead driver’s vehicle too closely. In this case, both the driver in the second car and the driver in the third car may share liability, but their percentage of liability may be calculated differently.

What Should You Do After a Multi-Vehicle Crash?

After an accident involving more than two vehicles, you should proceed as you would after any other type of crash. That means:

  • Call 911—Don’t assume someone else has already called.
  • Get medical attention—Your injuries may not be obvious, and getting medical attention links your injuries to the crash.
  • Get contact information from the other drivers—Speak to everyone involved in the crash and get their names, phone numbers, email addresses, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. Take pictures of these documents for easy reference.
  • Report the crash to your insurer—Your auto insurance company requires notification of all crashes within a short time period. Don’t risk getting penalized—call right away.
  • Call a lawyer—The other drivers in the crash may have already lawyered up, and their lawyers may try to pin the blame on you! The sooner you get a lawyer to protect your rights, the better.

We’ll Work to Determine Each Driver’s Degree of Liability

When you call us, we’ll review all the facts of what happened. Then, we’ll begin collecting additional evidence on our own. That means obtaining the accident report and witness statements, reviewing dashcam and security camera footage, and even reconstructing the accident scene if necessary.

By gathering this evidence and analyzing this information, we can begin to piece together what happened. Once we can accurately recreate the sequence of events in your multi-vehicle crash, we can better determine who was liable—and by how much. When we know each party’s level of responsibility, we can begin building your compensation claim against the other parties.

Don’t Let Your Crash Turn Into the “Blame Game”—Call Us Instead!

One of the biggest obstacles with multi-vehicle crashes is the ease with which drivers and their insurers can blame others. And the more parties involved in the crash, the easier it is to pass the buck onto the other drivers. Many victims find themselves being unfairly blamed, or dealing with two or more drivers who each refuse to accept liability.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we’ll get to the bottom of what happened, and we won’t leave any wiggle room for the at-fault drivers to avoid responsibility. Contact our Indiana car accident lawyers today for a free consultation. We’ll work hard to get you paid.

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