- The risk of severe or fatal injuries increases significantly when multiple vehicles are involved in an accident.
- When a multi-car pileup occurs, it often requires a more expansive investigation than a regular accident involving two cars.
- Sometimes, it is possible for more than one driver to be at-fault in a multi-car pileup accident. In other cases, it may be found that no one was to blame for the accident.
- Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you make the best decision regarding any settlement offers.
Atlanta’s fast-moving and busy highways sometimes lead to accidents that involve multiple vehicles. When several cars are involved in an accident, it can mean a tangled and dangerous situation on the road for anyone involved.
A multi-car pileup can also add to the confusion about what legal options are available to those who were injured in the accident. Determining liability can be a challenge even in a standard, two-car claim, so a multiple-car accident often results in a great deal of confusion and finger-pointing over who should bear responsibility.
What Causes Multi-Car Pileup Accidents?
Generally, multi-car pileups occur on heavily-traveled roads with fast-moving traffic. Some common causes of multi-car accidents include:
- Severe weather
- Slick roads
- Lack of visibility from darkness or too much sunlight
- Careless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Road hazards
Some multi-car pileup claims include more than one of the causes listed above or may involve other reasons not listed. Determining the root cause of a multi-car pileup accident is essential to building a successful injury claim. The root caused will be outlined by all the insurance adjusters who evaluate the accident, but can be challenged by the legal teams who represent those involved.
How Information Is Collected After a Multi-Car Pileup Accident
When a multi-car pileup occurs, it often requires a more expansive investigation than a regular accident involving two cars. Investigators are faced with the task of collecting information from multiple drivers, passengers, and other witnesses to try to recreate what happened to attempt to determine fault. This can be overwhelming, and determining the actions and liability of each driver involved will likely be subject to debate.
Multi-car pileups typically get more police involvement. This is because these accidents are more likely to see serious injuries, and police are often forced to close down major highways to ensure everyone’s safety as they attempt to collect any available evidence relating to the accident.
If you have been involved in a multi-car pileup accident, then you can do your part to collect information by using your smartphone to take photos and record videos of the scene if you are physically able to do so. This evidence can be vital for your claim.
How Multi-Car Pileups Can Lead to Serious Injuries
While severe or fatal injuries can occur in two-car accidents, the risk increases significantly when multiple vehicles are involved. Some reasons why multi-car pileups are especially dangerous include:
- Most multi-car pileups are high-speed accidents
- Multi-car crashes involve more people than regular accidents
- Accidents often occur as a chain reaction, allowing little to no time for anyone to react
- The potential for a semi-truck to be involved in a multi-car pileup is greater when it occurs on the freeway
- Multi-car pileups often result in whiplash and other spinal injuries
The risks for injuries increase along with the number of people involved in a multi-car accident. These injuries can lead to significant medical expenses and pain and suffering, which may be the basis for a personal injury claim if you can prove liability.
Who Is Liable in a Multi-Car Pileup in Georgia?
Determining liability in a multi-car pileup in Georgia can be a complicated task. Georgia is a comparative fault state, which means that a person can seek compensation for injuries sustained in an accident to the amount that the person was not at fault for the accident. For example, if it is determined that a driver was 20% at fault, then their compensation will be reduced by the same amount, 20%.
Determining fault will require a proper recreation of the accident scene to map out who was negligent and to what degree. In a comparative fault state, more than one driver can be found at fault. If it is determined that external factors, such as weather conditions, were substantial enough circumstances in a multi-car accident, then drivers can be let off the hook from liability.
With Georgia Being a Comparative Fault State – Can Multiple Drivers Be Held Liable?
Yes, a court can determine that multiple drivers were liable in a multi-car pileup in a comparative fault state such as Georgia.
There are two types of comparative negligence rules that exist: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. In a pure comparative negligence state, if someone is 99% at fault for an accident, they are still entitled to 1% recovery. Georgia operates with a modified comparative negligence standard, which states that a plaintiff must be less than 50% at fault for an accident to recover any compensation.
It is possible after a thorough investigation that it can be found that multiple drivers made mistakes in a multi-car accident. If this happens, the decision can bring more insurance policies into play, allowing for higher compensation from those who are held liable.
How Insurance Coverage Works When Many Vehicles Are Involved
When an accident occurs, it typically incurs several costs for those involved, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Every accident has a cost to an injured party, and claims are filed in an effort to make the injured party “whole” by compensating them for their injuries.
Car insurance laws exist to ensure that every driver on the road is insured to a certain minimum amount to help pay for expenses incurred from an accident. Multi-car accidents generally have higher costs due to the simple fact that more cars and drivers are involved than in a two-car accident.
In a situation where one driver is responsible for the entire pileup accident, the full amount of liability would be placed on that insurance company because of their driver’s actions. In other cases, liability can be split between multiple insurance carriers. Because many pileups are rear-end accidents, its likely that multiple people are liable when a chain reaction accident occurs.
How Compensation Works When No One Is at Fault for a Multi-Car Pileup
It’s possible that after an investigation for no one to be declared responsible for the multi-car pile up. If it is shown that external factors, such as weather conditions, were the root cause of an accident and no drivers were specifically shown to have been negligent, then a court can find that nobody was at fault for an accident.
If this happens, you would have to rely on your own insurance policy to cover your damages. It is important to understand your insurance policy liability limits and how they apply to you in case of an accident on the roads.
How a Settlement Works When Many Insurance Companies Are Involved
When multiple cars are involved in an accident, several insurance companies will likely be involved. If you are trying to work out a settlement, then you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you determine how much your claim is worth and prepare your strongest claim against the insurance companies.
Preparing your claim should entail an investigation into the accident scene, medical records, and any police reports. Once the investigation and accident evaluations are made, your lawyer would file a claim against the insurance companies of any negligent drivers.
After you hire a lawyer to help you, that lawyer will handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance companies involved in your claim. The decision to accept any settlement offer is up to you, whether you have an attorney or not. However, having an experienced attorney on your side can help you make the best decision regarding any settlement offers.
What Options Are Available if the Auto Insurance Policies Max Out?
Georgia law requires drivers to carry certain minimum levels of insurance to drive on the road legally. The minimum liability coverages are:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
If an at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your expenses, then you can seek coverage from your own insurance policy if you purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is designed to ensure you are compensated for your injuries in situations like hit and runs and can cover passengers riding in your vehicle.
Georgia insurance companies are required to offer drivers uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when they purchase their insurance policy, and drivers must reject this coverage in writing if they don’t want it. In most cases, drivers may have this coverage without even realizing it.
The Positive Side of Multi-Car Pileup Accident Legal Claims
While it’s hard to look at the bright side when a car accident occurs, some tangible benefits exist in multi-car accident claims that may not exist for regular accidents. Some of these benefits include:
- More eyewitnesses, which can lead to convincing evidence if the testimony is consistent
- Multi-car pileups usually require deeper investigations at the scene than other accidents
- The existence of multiple insurance companies allows for more potential for compensation
If you are unable to properly collect and use the additional evidence that comes with a multi-car accident claim, then you can miss out on substantial compensation for your injuries and other expenses.
Make sure you submit the strongest claim backed by the help of a personal injury attorney who can use their experience to ensure that you receive the highest possible compensation for your injuries.
The Millar Law Firm Offers Free Consultations
If you’ve been injured in a multi-car pileup accident, it’s smart to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
We can help. Call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.