You’ve seen the pictures on television where the car pile-up is long and nasty. Crush metal and broken glass are everywhere. There might be some horrific scene that the news broadcaster warns you about first, but hopefully not. Oftentimes the pile-up is caused by weather conditions or some other condition that can be contributed to an external source. Fortunately, most multiple car accidents are not the car pile-ups that make for great tv, but instead involve three or more vehicles often in town just as much as on the highway. In fact, approximately 40 percent of all traffic fatalities and injuries are caused by multiple vehicular accidents. These kinds of accidents are generally more complex because there are likely more than one contributing factor that caused the accident, and finding those factors can prove tedious and difficult. Below is a summary of what you need to know if you are involved in a multiple car accident.
There are many ways that a multiple car accident can happen, but some of the leading causes are as follows:
- Distracted Driving;
- Bad weather conditions;
- Dangerous road hazards;
- Drowsy sleeping or falling asleep at the wheel; and/or
- Defective parts, i.e., brakes, tires.
As said, there could be more than one contributing factor, but there is likely one initial cause of the accident that instigates the chain reaction. Because of the multiple car status, the probability of more injuries and property damage multiplies. Any and all responsible party should be held accountable for their contribution to the accident.
Determining Fault in Missouri Multiple Vehicular Accidents
You might think that the driver who initially caused the accident would be responsible for all damages, but that’s an inaccurate assessment of what happens. The truth is, there are multiple responsible parties who will be held liable for the accident. Missouri is an at-fault state that uses a pure comparative fault system. This means you are responsible for any part of the accident that you caused. Multi-car accidents are complex, thus determining the amount you may or may not be at fault can prove very difficult.
For example, imagine that the initial cause of the accident was a trucker who was drowsy and swerved, but you were distracted with your phone and didn’t notice in time, and the car behind you was at a proper distance but still didn’t have enough time to stop. If you are deemed 25% at fault, the first driver is deemed 75% at fault while the third driver is deemed 0% at fault, and for the sake of ease, each of your damages is $100,000 each, then you would each be allowed, depending on circumstances, the following:
- 1st Driver $25,000 from 2nd Driver
- 2nd Driver $75,000 from 1st Driver
- 3rd Driver $75,000 from 1st Driver and $25,000 from 2nd Driver
Of course, things do not go as precisely and smoothly as this example. Insurance companies are going to refute the claims, especially the 1st driver’s insurance company with regard to the 3rd driver’s claims and the 2nd driver’s insurance company with regard to the 1st and 3rd drivers’ claims. It could get pretty technical and quite ugly. In many instances, multi-car accident claims end up in court or else one or more parties is seriously getting under-compensated. In theory, however, your compensation will be directly proportionate to your percentage of fault.
In general, can anticipate the following in Missouri if you are in a multi-car accident:
- Fault determination is not a simple process, especially when it is a multi-car accident.
- The less at fault you are the more compensation you are likely to recover from the other driver(s).
- Because Missouri is a pure comparative negligent state, you can still recover damages even if more than 50% at fault, so even if 99% at fault, you can still pursue a 1% award for damages.
A Missouri Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Determine Fault
Having an auto accident attorney help you with your claim is ideal in multi-car accidents because of the complexity and sensitive nature of these cases. We at Krause & Kinsman know what to do after a multi-accident car accident so that the value of your claim is preserved. We will:
- Gather the evidence. The amount of your damages recovery will depend on fault. As such, we move quickly and aggressively to collect the facts of the case.
- Apply the law. Once we have the evidence in hand, we apply the law to the evidence and build your case persuasively and logically.
- File your claim. We will write the demand letter and provide all the exhibits necessary to prove your case. If the offer is accepted, then we win. If the insurance denies it, we negotiate.
- File a Complaint. If negotiations breakdown, we file our lawsuit. We then work aggressively to win you case.
Damages Sought for Multi-Car Accidents
The damages you can seek are no more or no less than any other car accident in Missouri. Generally, the law seeks to make the injured party whole again, though in many instances it actually can’t make you whole again. That being said, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages, for example:
- Economic Damages
- Medical expenses for the past & future
- Lost wages for past & future
- Lost future earning capacity
- Property damages
- Non-Economic Damages
- Pain & suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Contact Krause & Kinsman Today
If you’ve been in a multi-car accident in Kansas City, Missouri, you need legal assistance. Determining liability in these kinds of auto collisions is very complicated and may require extensive investigations. At Krause & Kinsman, our dedicated Missouri car crash legal team knows how to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident. We know how to identify all responsible parties. We act aggressively so that you will receive the compensation you rightfully deserve according to Missouri law.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.