Who is At Fault in a Multiple Car Accident?
In the simple car case, one vehicle rear-ends another in a parking lot and those are the only two cars involved in the crash. The focus of the insurance claim is deciding who is to blame. This is called allocating fault, and it matters in Nevada for deciding whether you can sue and how much compensation you can receive. Because only two cars are involved, allocating fault should be easy.
Unfortunately, many car accidents involve multiple vehicles, and the legal headaches multiply accordingly.
What Are Multi-Car Accidents?
These crashes involve at least three vehicles, sometimes many more. Also called “pileups,” a multi-car accident can take place anywhere but are most common on highways or at intersections because of the density of traffic. The fact is simple: the more cars around, the higher number of cars involved in an accident.
How Do Multi-Car Accidents Occur?
These accidents are usually chain-reactions. But they start with one car striking another.
For example, traffic might be humming on the freeway when Car A cuts off Car B. Car B slams into Car A, and the two cars come to rest in the middle of the highway!
Unsurprisingly, everything is happening so fast that Car C coming behind won’t be able to brake in time, so Car C slams into Car B. Then Car D hits Car C and so on. Very quickly traffic will pile up on the highway, sometimes involving literally hundreds of vehicles.
Eventually, traffic behind will see that there is a crash ahead and drivers might take defensive action, even pulling onto a grassy median or onto the shoulder. But they could strike another vehicle or even a motorist who has emerged from their crumpled car to call for help. Pretty soon, cars are pinballing off each other, much as they do when there is a wreck in NASCAR.
Multi-Car Accidents Cause Terrible Injuries
Getting crunched in your car can lead to serious injuries, including concussions, bleeding in the brain, whiplash, cervical fracture, and back injuries. Many victims are unable to leave their cars voluntarily but must be extracted by emergency services.
In a horrifying multi-car pileup, one car might catch fire because of a ruptured fuel tank. Unfortunately, the fire can spread, causing death or serious burn injuries.
Multi-car accidents are mass injury events which often make the news. If you have been hurt, you should hire an experienced Las Vegas multi-vehicle accident attorney today to review.
Establishing Fault in a Multi-Car Accident
Personal injury claims like car accidents turn on proving fault. Under Nevada law, a person who is at fault for an accident must pay compensation to injured victims. Unfortunately, because so many cars are involved in these accidents, it might be very difficult to pinpoint exactly who is to blame. We certainly don’t expect an accident victim carried away in the back of an ambulance to know who is to blame for crunching their vehicle on the highway.
Complicating matters, Nevada recognizes comparative fault. This means that an injured victim might have made some mistake out of carelessness which contributed to their accident. Untangling the factual web is extremely difficult. But comparative negligence can prove critical in a case. If a victim shares too much of the blame—51% or more—they are prohibited from bringing a claim. Even if they shared a lesser degree of fault, their compensation is reduced proportionally.
Evidence Used to Prove Fault in Multi-Car Accidents
How do we prove who is at fault for your injuries? This is a good question. As experienced multi-car accident lawyers in Las Vegas, we have found that a thorough investigation is warranted. Only by understanding who was involved in the wreck can we hope to pinpoint with any degree of certainty who is to blame.
In the example above—where Car A cuts off Car B, leading to a wreck—Car A is probably at fault for the pileup on the road. But other drivers might be to blame, too. For example, the driver of Car Z might have seen the pileup up ahead and had enough time to stop. If they instead swerve onto the grassy median and hit someone standing there, then Car Z is partially at fault for the injury to the victim.
Our team looks at every piece of evidence we can find, including:
- The police report. This usually provides helpful information about the identities of drivers involved in the crash. There might also be a diagram showing where cars ended up following the accident.
- Eyewitness testimony. We can talk to those involved in the wreck or who might have seen it. They can provide helpful evidence as to what went down.
- Pictures or video. If you are not too injured, you should take pictures of the accident. However, media outlets might have arrived at the scene to take pictures or video, or there could be dashcam video. This evidence helps us recreate the accident to better understand it.
- Weather reports. Rain, ice, or fog could have contributed to an accident on the highway. We need to know that information to better understand the choices drivers made behind the wheel. We can review weather reports to see if inclement weather contributed to an accident.
Our Legal Team Can Spring into Action
At Naqvi Law, we realize how stressful the weeks following a car accident are. Many of our clients are still in the hospital with broken bones or other serious injuries, and they often feel considerable pain. This is not the time to try and investigate who set off a chain reaction on the highway.
Our team provides many services to our clients, including:
- We handle all communication with insurance adjusters. With so many vehicles involved, the paperwork and communication could be overwhelming. Let us handle that for you.
- We investigate the accident. We can use our team to identify key pieces of evidence that might have been overlooked. For example, if a commercial vehicle was involved in the pileup, then “black box” data could reveal clues about what caused the accident.
- We analyze the law. Fault is based on the law of negligence. Typically, one or more motorists failed to use reasonable care, leading to the crash which triggered the chain reaction. We can better understand our client’s rights once we analyze fault.
- We can negotiate a settlement. Negotiations can get out of hand with so many accident victims at the table. Any victim unrepresented by legal counsel is at a serious disadvantage.
- We can identify all sources of compensation. If one driver is to blame for 50 injuries, his insurance could be depleted quickly, leaving accident victims with peanuts. We use our experience to identify all funds that could be used to pay a settlement.
- We litigate a claim, if necessary. Where issues surrounding fault lead to a breakdown in negotiations, we can file a lawsuit to protect your rights.
We provide accident victims and their families a free, no-strings consultation where we can discuss the services we provide in more depth. A consultation is also a good time to hear what you remember about the accident.
Involved in a Pileup? Call Naqvi Injury Law
Trying to tackle your own case is a grave mistake. With so many vehicles involved in these wrecks, accident victims need a competent car accident lawyer in Las Vegas by their side throughout the entire process. Give Naqvi Injury Law a call today. We represent clients on contingency, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case.