If you have been involved in a multi-vehicle accident in the state of Florida, you may be confused by the complex and tricky to navigate state laws Florida uses. In complex cases like that surrounding a multiple vehicle accident, we highly recommend getting advice from a personal injury lawyer. As we are going to discuss in this article, there are lots of complex issues to investigate when it comes to a multiple vehicle accident, and having someone knowledgeable and skilled at dealing with cases like yours, will give you an immediate advantage.
Car accidents are terrible chaotic affairs that can cause massive disruption damage and injury. When more than two cars are involved, it gets even worse. Multiple car accidents are usually much more severe than a normal car accident. Called by many names, multi-car collision, pile-up chain reaction, these accidents can range from 3 cars to dozens.
If you have been involved in a multi-vehicle collision, then you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer, such as those found at The Law Place. Accidents involving multiple cars get complicated quickly, and you may have to deal with several insurance companies. No one should have to deal with the aftermath of a multi-vehicle crash alone, contact us today on 941-444-4444 for a free consultation.
Causes of Multi-Vehicle Collisions
A crash involving multiple vehicles usually happens where there is a high volume of cars in areas that include high-speed limits. They often occur on highways or major roads in a city and are commonly caused by several reasons:
- Speeding vehicles.
- Distraction, from either a phone or another passenger.
- Driving under the influence.
- Reduced grip due to ice or water on the road.
- New or inexperienced drivers.
- Driving too close to other vehicles.
Often, the beginning of the chain reaction that leads to a multi-vehicle collision happens when a car comes to a sudden stop, leaving the vehicles behind them very little time to break. This immediate stop results in the driver behind the first driver crashing into them. On a high-speed road, this can then lead to the car behind the second car crashing into them, then the third car, and so on, until the momentum has stopped.
Because these accidents often happen on roads that have high traffic volumes, they can grow in severity very quickly, often resulting in massive accidents involving multiple cars. Even vehicles that aren’t involved in the initial crash may have to deploy erratic maneuvers, like hard braking or swerving to evolve the main accident group. This leads to a larger number of vehicles and insurance companies involved in the accident if it goes to court; this obviously makes matters much more complicated.
Every state has its own law when it comes to determining the fault in a multiple vehicle accident. Some states will stop you from recovering any damages if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident.
Florida Statute 768.81 states that:
“Contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and non-economic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault but does not bar recovery.”
In simple terms, if you manage to successfully win a claim by using a skilled personal injury attorney, then the amount that you receive is reduced by the percentage that you are at fault. If you were awarded $100,000, but the judge and jury found that you were 20% to blame for the accident, you will only get $80,000.
It is also worth noting that Florida has abolished some of its old laws surrounding incidents like this. Joint and Several Liabilities, which was the old system, allowed you to choose who you wanted to seek compensation from. This is no longer the case.
Who Is at Fault?
In Florida, the fault usually lies with whoever is proven “negligent” in the accident. To prove that someone is negligent, an attorney will have to prove several things:
- Duty – Firstly, the driver had a legal duty to drive their vehicle in a safe manner that is in accordance with all local road laws.
- Breaching – Secondly, the driver did not take the right measures to drive their vehicle in a safe or legal manner.
- Cause – As a result of the person breaching their duty, you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
- Damages – As a result of this accident, you have been injured or have incurred other damages qualify for compensation.
A common cause of car crashes is medical emergencies. For example, a bus driver having a sudden stroke. Under Florida law, if you have a medical emergency and you have no pre-existing or no known pre-existing medical conditions, and you cause an accident as a result of this, you may not be held liable.
For this excuse, you must have been physically healthy before the incident, and you must have had no knowledge of any underlying medical conditions. If it is found that you did have knowledge of these conditions, you become fully liable for the accident and damages.
What Can a Skilled Attorney Do for You?
Due to the complexity of accidents involving more than two cars, it takes a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to successfully resolve a case. Multi-vehicle accidents often never reach a settlement with insurance companies and have to proceed to the lawsuit stage without determining fault. During this lawsuit stage, there are usually depositions and witness statements. If at this point, you do not have a skilled attorney on your side, you may be led into admitting fault, even if it is unreasonable, by someone else who has hired an attorney.
There are lots of factors that make these cases so complicated:
- There is usually more than one injured party.
- There are several insurance companies involved, each of which has an agenda to pay out as little as possible.
- There can often be more than one at-fault driver determining fault can then be difficult.
- Sometimes there is not enough insurance coverage collectively to pay for all of the claims.
- If there has been a death or several deaths involved, there will have to be a much more in-depth investigation by the prosecutors.
- There are often cross-claims of negligence that have to be fully examined.
Because these factors can take a long time to iron out, these kinds of claims can be delayed by years.
In cases like this, it may be beneficial to move forward by using a bifurcated trial. This is when a claim is subjected to a two-part trial.
The first part is where the cause of the accident is discussed without mention of injuries. A judge and jury can then decide upon the liability regardless of the injuries caused.
After liability has been decided, the second part then happens after the treatment of the victim has finished. Attorneys can then seek medical compensation for the injured party.
Contact The Law Place Today!
If you have been involved in a multi-vehicle crash, contact us today at The Law Place for a free consultation.
Our team of skilled lawyers has over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with chain reaction accidents and large insurance companies. During our free consultation call, we can help you by giving you our honest advice on what course of action we believe is best for you to take. There are no strings attached, and even if you do not decide to hire us, you will have received some honest advice from a reputable personal injury lawyer that may help you out massively.
Don’t let the stress of a car accident ruin your life; let us take the reins so you can sit back and focus on your recovery. Get in touch on 941-444-4444 today!