What are my legal options if I was hurt in a multi-vehicle car accident?
Crashes involving multiple vehicles are often catastrophic and frustrating to deal with. The likelihood of sustaining a serious injury is much greater in a multiple vehicle crash than a two-car crash. You could be pushed into the line of high-speed traffic or struck more than once.
There is also more difficulty in resolving such cases, because more than one driver may be at fault, multiple insurance carriers and claims will be involved, and likely several of the drivers will have different versions of who was responsible. That's why you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible if you were involved in a crash with multiple vehicles.
What types of car accidents involve multiple vehicles?
Any type of crash can involve more than two cars. Multiple vehicle crashes often occur in:
- Rear-end collisions, The Domino Accident: An unexpected stop in traffic can result in multiple rear-end collisions. This can happen when one vehicle gets pushed into another after being struck from behind. A pile up or chain reaction of rear-end collisions can also occur, especially on slippery roads.
- T-bone crashes: These types of crashes happen at intersections when one driver runs a red light or stop sign or uses poor judgment when making a left turn. A T-bone crash can push one or both vehicles into the line of traffic and cause another collision. Since T-bone crashes happen so quickly, other drivers may have a difficult time getting out of the way or stopping.
- Truck crashes: Crashes involving large commercial trucks or tractor trailers, often affect multiple vehicles, especially on busy interstates and major roadways. Due to the size and weight of a large truck, a single crash can cause a large-scale catastrophe. Truck crashes can also back up traffic for several hours and heighten the risk of several highway crashes.
- Head-on crashes: A head-on collision occurs when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide into each other. Both cars could be pushed into other directions and into the line of other oncoming vehicles. Other drivers often don’t have enough time to stop or get out of the way.
- Icy Conditions on the Roadway: These kinds of car crashes generally involve multiple cars because once one of the drivers hits the ice patch and loses control, his/her can go in any direction, increasing the risk of hitting multiple cars or objects.
Risk factors in multiple vehicle crashes
There are several causes and risk factors that can lead to multiple vehicle crashes. Among those are:
- Speeding: The faster someone drives during the moments leading to a crash, the more catastrophic a crash will likely be. For example, a high-speed T-bone crash may cause one car to careen out of control and strike another car. Speeders also have less time to react when another crash occurs in front of them or somebody switches into their lane of travel.
- Traffic congestion: This one is a no-brainer. The more cars and trucks sharing the same roadway, the more likely a crash will involve multiple vehicles.
- Adverse weather conditions: Slippery roads (snow and ice) during the winter time can make it difficult for drivers to stop or control their vehicle, particularly when turning , traveling downhill or during a highway pileup. Weather factors that can also affect visibility, such as heavy rain and fog, can increase the risk of a multi-vehicle crash. We have all seen the news bulletin about the 20 car crash in Interstate 225, etcetera.
- Accident scenes and roadside construction: Traffic usually slows down or comes to a halt when emergency crews are responding to a crash or when traffic must merge into a single lane due to construction. This can increase the risk of rear-end collisions, pileups, and distracted driving crashes.
Who is responsible for multi-vehicle car accidents?
Multi-vehicle crashes are far more complex than two-car crashes. Determining who is at fault will require an in-depth investigation and crash reconstruction. The driver who caused the first crash may be responsible, but another driver who was distracted or speeding may also be responsible for not avoiding an additional crash.
Insurance companies will use every trick in the book to cut their own costs. They may attempt to shift the blame onto you, despite any hard evidence indicating who was at fault. They may also offer small settlements to any parties (not at fault) who were injured in the crash. If you accept one of their settlements without first consulting with an attorney, you could end up paying for remaining medical bills and other expenses out-of-pocket, particularly if you sign a broad or general release that is not reviewed by an attorney.
If you were injured in a multiple-vehicle crash, you need an experienced Maryland car accident attorney who knows how to gather the facts, hold reckless drivers accountable, and negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement. Contact Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC online or call our Rockville office at (301) 251-1286 to schedule your free consultation.