Multiple Vehicle Accidents
It is an unfortunate fact that multiple-vehicle accidents are common and often result in injury and death. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - Highway Loss Data Institute, in 2016, Georgia had 710 deaths from multiple vehicle accidents, which accounted for 46% of all deaths from vehicle accidents in the state. If you have been involved in a multiple vehicle accident, it is important to consider who may be liable for damage to your vehicle and injury to your person. Unlike a vehicle accident involving only two automobiles, multiple vehicle accidents are much more difficult to assess for liability. Multiple parties may be at fault for the accident and recovery for damages may be permitted from all responsible parties to some degree. Even if you are partially at fault for the multiple vehicle accident, you may still be able to recover for damages if someone else shares a greater responsibility for the accident.
If you've been hurt in a multi-vehicle accident, it's critical that you retain an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney, call our office today at 888.474.9616 or contact us online.Common Causes of Multiple Vehicle Accidents
Multiple vehicle accidents, also sometimes known as chain reaction accidents, often have similar causes. The following list are common causes of multiple vehicle accidents:
- Distracted Driving. With the advent of smartphones, distracted driving is becoming increasingly common. Distracted drivers are often a cause of any form of vehicle accident, be it a single vehicle accident, a two-vehicle accident, or a multiple vehicle accident. Smartphone usage is prohibited while operating an automobile and will be considered when determining liability for the accident.
- Poor Weather Conditions. Poor weather conditions, such as wet or icy roads, flooding, or snow often contribute to a multiple vehicle accident. On particularly poor weather days it is not uncommon to see a multiple car pileup on a highway because an automobile is unable to brake in time to avoid colliding with the automobile in front of it. Drivers are expected to increase their follow distance to account for increased stopping distance when driving in poor conditions. Failure to increase the follow distance will be considered when assigning liability for the multiple vehicle accident.
- Drugs and Alcohol. Drivers operating an automobile under the influence of drugs or alcohol account for many multiple vehicle accidents in the State of Georgia. Georgia's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%. Any driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater is operating his or her vehicle under the influence of alcohol and will be held liable for any property damage, injuries, or deaths caused. Causing harm to others while committing a crime (such as driving under the influence) may result in greater civil liability and criminal punishment. The courts will strongly consider the factor of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol when assigning liability for a multiple vehicle accident.
- Driver Fatigue. Tired drivers who fall asleep at the wheel or whose reaction time is increased due to fatigue account for many multiple vehicle accidents. This is common to see among commercial drivers (truckers) whose employers overwork them. Semi-truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel can cause catastrophic damage and such behavior will easily result in a multiple vehicle accident. Liability will be assigned to both the driver and the driver's employer if the driver was operating the vehicle in the normal course of business.
- Erratic Driving. Some people are particularly poor drivers who drive erratically or without concern for other drivers on the road. This sort of negligence is a common cause of multiple vehicle accidents and will make the driver responsible for any accidents he or she causes while driving erratically. This can include speeding, tailgating, swerving in and out of traffic, or disobeying other traffic rules.
When determining what party is liable for a multiple vehicle accident, it is important to consider whether any of the above-listed factors were involved in the accident. If any party was driving distracted, driving fatigued, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving erratically in poor weather conditions, then that driver will be assigned some or all of the liability for the accident. In multiple vehicle accidents law enforcement will assign parties liability percentages. For instance, one driver may be 10% responsible while the other driver may be 90% responsible. If you have no responsibility for the accident, ie. you were driving safely and did nothing to cause the accident, then you can seek to recover funds from any other party that is allocated a percentage of liability.Comparative Negligence in Multiple Vehicle Accidents
If you share some percentage of responsibility for a multiple vehicle accident, then your ability to seek compensation from other parties may be reduced. For instance, you may be 10% liable for an accident, and thus your compensation may be reduced by 10%. But you can seek to recover damages from the other parties that are more responsible for the accident than you were. This is known as the doctrine of comparative negligence. It is important to know that even if you are partially responsible for an accident, you may still recover for harm that has befallen you. Before determining that you will be unable to recover damages, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney such as the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd, LLC to make that final determination.Contact Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been harmed in a multiple vehicle accident in the State of Georgia, it is important to have the right representation to champion your rights and work toward getting you compensated for your property damage, injuries, or death of a loved one. The Georgia personal injury attorneys at Slappey & Sadd, LLC will work with you to direct your claims to the involved insurance companies and responsible parties to work towards a settlement if possible, or if not possible, take your case to court. If you have been harmed in a multiple vehicle accident, call the law firm of Slappey & Sadd, LLC today at 888.474.9616 or contact us online.