Have you been in an accident that involves more than two other parties? Your immediate reaction after the accident is undoubtedly checking on the health of all involved.
But once the crisis moment has passed you should turn your attention to the practicalities (and difficulty) of 3 car claims. There are some unique threats and dynamics you should understand when it comes to a multi-car accident or “pileup”.
We're here to help you protect your rights and will clearly explain all the relevant details surrounding this type of claim. Specifically we'll cover….
What Are the Common Causes of Multi-Car Accidents?
What Unique Risks Are Associated with Multi-Car Accidents?
How to Deal With an Accident Claim Involving Multiple Parties?
How Much Can You Settle Your Multi Car Accident Claim For?
Let's get started….
According to the National Safety Council last year there was a spike in motor vehicle accidents, including ones that caused a fatality . Many of these accidents were multi-car.
When you look under the surface to determine the common causes of multi-car accidents you'll find many of the same culprits as normal car accidents.
Multi car accidents can be particularly serious for some unique reasons. A lot of 3 car accidents involve both a primary and secondary impact. So there is a double risk from the perspective of injury and property damage.
The primary (or first) impact occurs when the at-fault driver collides with another vehicle. The secondary impact follows the primary when other drivers attempt to avoid being involved and run into each other or other objects. Many times an accident was made worse by other drivers overcorrecting and trying to avoid a crash.
Another unique risk of multi-car accidents is that they often occur on highways. The high rate of speed on the highway makes other drivers less able to avoid them in the event that something goes wrong. Think of a bicycle race, when one cyclist goes down often a chain reaction is set off.
At the scene of a multi-car accident you'll be focused on the welfare of all parties involved but be sure not to discuss fault and to document as much information as you can (photos, police report, etc).
The biggest issue in a multi-car accident is untangling who was the negligent or at-fault driver. The dollar value of a multi-car accidents often runs quite high so an insurance company might assign a special investigator to review the case. The issue of fault is going to hinge largely on the factors of duty of care and proximate cause.
The trickiest aspect of an insurance claim involving multiple parties is that it's tough to assign blame fairly and equally among those responsible. Disputes often arise, and it's not uncommon for attorneys to get involved. There is also the issue of comparative vs contributory negligence.
After a multi-car accident, you'll want to report things to your insurance carrier. If your insurance isn't no-fault  you may want to file your own claim with the other party's insurance company. Going through your own insurance can often make things easier as they may simply compensate you and then subrogate.
If you're pursuing a claim through the other parties insurance be prepared to show some evidence of fault. If the evidence is on your side you will be in good shape and you can let the process play out.
However, keep in in mind that multi-car accidents often result in multiple claims for compensation and thus are usually contested and take longer. Getting an attorney to litigate for you may also be necessary, but each situation is different.
There is no way reliable to answer this question, but reviewing a few comparable cases might serve useful.
A multi-car accident has all the risk and hassle of a normal car accident claim compounded by the number of vehicles involved. If you've been involved in one just be sure to remember a few basics.
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