Determining liability in chain-reaction auto accidents can be confusing, especially when the crash involves three, four, or more vehicles. The devastating consequences of multi-vehicle crashes were evident in a recent accident in Polk County. As reported by The Ledger, several lanes on Interstate 4 were closed following a fatal chain-reaction accident. Investigators have yet to determine what caused the collision and who was responsible for causing the multi-vehicle accident.
When it comes to establishing fault in a chain-reaction crash in Florida, personal injury protection (PIP) is the first available policy to cover your damages. If your damages and losses total no more than $10,000, you can obtain compensation through the PIP coverage regardless of who caused the crash.
However, in many chain-reaction car accidents, the amount of damages can total more than $10,000. Typically, the more vehicles are involved, the higher the cost of personal injury.
Negligent Behaviors That Lead to Chain-Reaction Accidents
In order to determine liability in a chain-reaction auto accident, insurance companies investigate whether any of the parties involved engaged in negligent behaviors. Drivers must exercise due care when operating a motor vehicle on the roadway. Failure to comply with traffic rules is considered negligence.
The following negligent behaviors can cause or contribute to multi-vehicle accidents in Florida:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of illegal substances
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to use turn signals
- Wrong-way driving
- Operating a vehicle with a defect or malfunction
What if Multiple Drivers Share Fault for a Chain-Reaction Crash?
In chain-reaction accidents, it is not uncommon for multiple drivers to be negligent. For example, let’s imagine that a black vehicle is hit by a red vehicle, which, in its turn, collided with a white car.
The driver of the white vehicle rear-ended the red vehicle, causing it to rear-end the black car. Investigation shows that the driver of the white car exceeded the speed limit when it collided with the red vehicle. The driver of the red car, meanwhile, was distracted when the collision happened.
Under Florida’s comparative negligence doctrine, both the driver of the red vehicle and the white vehicle will share fault for the chain-reaction crash. When only one motorist is responsible for a chain-reaction accident, they will have to pay for all the damages.
But what happens if you were injured in a chain-reaction crash and your own fault contributed to the accident? In this case, if you pursue a personal injury claim to recover damages, your compensation will be reduced according to your percentage of responsibility for the multi-vehicle collision.
It is advised to speak with a knowledgeable Lakeland auto accident attorney to review your particular situation and determine liability in your chain-reaction crash. Typically, it is necessary to hire forensics or accident reconstruction experts to establish fault in chain-reaction accidents by putting together the details and evidence. In many cases, it is difficult to determine liability without video surveillance.
Contact The Turnbull Firm to discuss your case. Call at 863-324-3500 today.