With the huge number of vehicles on the road today, it is very common for crashes to involve multiple vehicles. Sometimes even dozens of vehicles can “pile up” in an accident. How does that affect injury claims and how does your car accident attorney help you untangle the knot of liability and damages?
Understanding a Multi-Vehicle Accident
Even single-vehicle accidents are not simple. A car accident might be caused by road debris, distraction, emergencies, or any number of things. A multi-vehicle accident is when that initial cause leads to a vehicle hitting another. But that too, can become the cause of additional accidents, leading to a chain of events that leaves multiple vehicles destroyed and multiple people hurt.
Here’s a common example of a multi-vehicle accident on the freeway: Traffic slows down to a crawl or a stop. Let’s say you’re driving a car called “Vehicle 1” You come to a stop, waiting for traffic to move. Vehicle 2 stops behind you. Then a third vehicle whose driver is distracted by changing the radio comes along and smashes into the back of vehicle 2. That pushes vehicle 2 into the rear of your car, whipping you around in your seat and causing thousands of dollars of damage to your car.
In that fairly straightforward depiction, liability almost always rests with the driver of the third vehicle, which caused the initial impact. But what if this wasn’t a rear-end crash and it was at an intersection? What if your car got thrown forward into the intersection where it was then struck by yet another vehicle? Could you be blamed for a part of the damage? Which driver will have to pay for your repairs and injuries?
In Multi-car accidents in New Mexico, all drivers involved MIGHT be found to have some responsibility for what happened. Police aren’t professional accident reconstruction experts so they often choose to distribute blame evenly among everybody involved, even if some drivers did absolutely nothing wrong.
How Fault Is Determined in Multi-car crashes
When multiple cars are involved the police and insurance companies tend to want to spread the blame around as well. They will ask questions like “are you sure you had your foot on the brake?” and “did you see them coming?” and “did you try to move out of the way” to increase the amount of liability on you. This is just nonsense, but without somebody on your side fighting back these kinds of tactics can work.
In reality, experts have to be brought in to reconstruct the scene and tell us exactly who caused what. It may seem obvious for who started a domino effect crash, but what seems true isn’t always true. When we bring in experts we can go to the judge and jury with authority and say definitively who is at fault and what was the real cause. This prevents insurance companies from getting out of paying the full amount of policies when they try to blame you for part of the crash.
Auto Accident and Insurance Laws in New Mexico
Every driver is required to carry a certain minimum amount of insurance coverage. At a bare minimum, drivers need to have liability coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person, up to $50,000 per accident for injuries and $10,000 for damage to the property of others. But what happens when multiple vehicles are involved?
When a multi-car accident occurs in New Mexico, it is possible that the insurance for every single driver could be on the hook to help pay for medical expenses. Of course, they will try to fight this and say only one single vehicle is at fault, but that may not be the truth. For example, in a multi-car pileup on the freeway many people will say it is the rear-most car that is to blame, but in reality it may be that every single car was individually liable. Only by getting a good lawyer and accident professionals can you prove the truth and have a chance to bring in the resources from multiple insurance policies.
Steps to Take After a Multi-Vehicle Accident
If you’ve been in a Multi-Vehicle accident here are some things you should do:
- If it’s safe, take pictures of where the accident took place, as well as photos of your vehicle.
- Let your insurance company know that there was an accident
- Make sure you hang on to insurance info and contact info for anybody else involved, as well as any police reports, photos and videos.
- If you are injured, get medical treatment right away.
- Call your attorney to discuss what you should and shouldn’t say, and what your rights are. If you call Roadrunner Law Firm, this call is absolutely free.
We’ll Make Sense of Your Case
Our deep knowledge of car accident law is a huge asset to you when multiple vehicles have been involved in a crash. We know how to pick apart the event and get the truth. We have the resources you need to prove what really happened. Most importantly, we know how to get the insurance to admit that they should pay you what they owe you and not try to get out of it.
Give us a call today.