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Determining blame in a multi-car accident

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Understanding fault after a two-car accident can often be straightforward. Often, one driver is totally responsible due to speeding, driving drunk or some other negligence, while the other driver was following the rules and acting carefully. The crash would not have happened if not for the obviously negligent party.

However, when an incident involves three or more vehicles, assigning responsibility can become much more complex. What if two of the drivers were negligent? Or did all three motorists contribute in at least some small way? For car accident victims in Hamilton County, Indiana, this complexity can be overwhelming, especially when trying to recover from the event itself.

The process of determining fault

Assigning blame for a pileup generally begins with the police report. The officer who comes to the scene and investigates plays a crucial role by being a neutral party offering a theory of what happened based on their trained observations. Later, your personal injury attorney can fill in any gaps with their own investigation.

Insurance companies and fault determination

Insurance companies are also active in investigating multi-car accidents. An adjuster is assigned to the case to collect further information and make a decision on the claims. The at-fault driver’s insurance is typically expected to cover the damages, subject to the terms of their policy.

In situations where a driver lacks insurance, they would be responsible for covering the costs themselves. The level of coverage each driver has will affect your strategy for recovering damages.

Comparative negligence in multi-car accidents

It is not unusual for more than one person to contribute to the conditions that lead to a major multi-vehicle wreck. This does not mean you cannot seek damages if you were hurt in a car accident just because you were partly at fault.

Indiana employs a modified comparative negligence rule, which can impact compensation in a multi-car crash. As long as you are less than 50 percent responsible for the crash, you can receive damages. What you get is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, let’s say you get into a crash and suffer $100,000 worth of damages. You sue and the jury finds the defendants were 75 percent liable and you were 25 percent responsible. You would receive $75,000 in damages.

Seeking professional advice

In the event of a multi-car pileup, it is advisable for those affected to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Legal guidance can be invaluable in understanding rights to compensation and navigating the complexities of multi-car accident claims in Hamilton County. A lawyer can help clarify the intricacies of the law and ensure that victims receive the support they need during such trying times.