While the majority of motor vehicle crashes that occur throughout Los Angeles and surrounding areas involve no more than two motor vehicles, sometimes, especially on highly-congested highways, multi-vehicle accidents can occur. Referred to as chain reaction or pileup accidents, multiple car-involved accidents can be stressful, dangerous, and complicated, especially when it comes to determining liability and figuring out who will pay for your injuries and damages. At the law offices of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys can help you navigate the claims process after a pileup accident and will advocate for your best interests.
How Multiple-Car Pileup Accidents Happen
Car accidents that involve multiple cars can be extremely scary and can result in serious damages for cars at the beginning of the line (rear-ended), in the middle of the line (hit from both ends), and at the end of the line (rear-ending the vehicle in front of them). Most of the time, these accidents are entirely preventable and would not occur but for aggressive driving behaviors, such as following another vehicle too closely. In addition to tailgating, factors that contribute to or increase the risk of multiple-car pileup accidents include:
- High congestion. When traffic levels are high and the roads are packed, the risk of a car accident involving multiple vehicles is much greater. This is especially true when traffic is stop-and-go and traffic is backed up and vehicles are following one another closely.
- Poor visibility. When visibility is poor, it can be difficult for drivers to see other cars directly in front of them. While this is when it is most important to increase following distance, drivers may actually inadvertently decrease following distance, as the car in front of them serves as a guide of sorts. Should the need to stop suddenly for a leading vehicle present itself, multiple cars could be impacted, leading to a pileup accident.
- Bad weather. While ice and snow are virtually unheard of in Los Angeles (the last time it snowed in L.A. was in February 2019; prior to that, it hadn’t snowed since 1962), rain is more common. Rain can make roads slippery, leading to vehicles that are harder to control. When combined with poor visibility, bad weather can be a recipe for disaster.
- Construction. Construction zones and an increase in car accidents go hand-in-hand. This is because construction zones can be difficult to navigate, signage may be confusing or incorrect, speed limits may change suddenly, and traffic may get backed up as a result of a construction zone, sometimes for miles.
Determining Fault Is Critical
When a multiple-vehicle car accident occurs, determining fault for that accident is of critical importance. In fact, unless you determine fault, you will be unable to bring a claim for damages against the responsible party (in California, claims are paid by the at-fault party’s liability insurance). While you may be able to turn to your own insurance company for some coverage, filing a claim against another party’s liability insurance will likely be most lucrative.
There are a number of different parties who may be found at fault or partially at fault for a multiple vehicle car accident. These include:
- The driver of a vehicle that is rear-ended. If a driver is rear-ended, it is not necessarily the other driver’s fault; fault could fall on the shoulders of the driver who is hit from behind. This is true when a driver in front doesn’t have working brake lights or stops suddenly and unexpectedly without cause.
- A driver who rear-ends another vehicle. Most of the time, the driver who does the rear-ending is responsible for the accident, as a rear driver has a duty to maintain a safe and reasonable following distance. If the driver is following too closely, which means that the driver doesn’t have time to stop in the event that the vehicle in front slows or comes to a halt, they could be held liable for damages.
- Another third party. Sometimes, another third party is to blame, such as a construction company that fails to maintain appropriate and proper signage, or a municipal entity responsible for road maintenance.
Keep in mind that in a multiple-vehicle pileup situation, it is not uncommon for a vehicle to both rear-end another vehicle and to be hit from behind. Which means that liability could fall on the shoulders of multiple parties, or be shared equally amongst the three (or more!) drivers involved depending on the circumstances.
Why It’s Important to Work with an Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
If you are involved in a car accident that involves multiple vehicles and in which liability is uncertain, working with an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney is very important. Your attorney will be crucial in investigating your accident, hiring accident reconstruction and other experts, determining causation and liability, and proving fault. What’s more, the insurance company against which you’re filing a claim will likely be doing everything possible to invalidate your claim and reduce your settlement amount – your lawyer will aggressively fight back and work hard to get you the maximum recovery amount possible. An attorney is responsible for calculating the value of your damages and negotiating your claim. In the event that negotiations fail, your attorney can file your lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case in court.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Today
Being involved in a car accident is frustrating, especially if you have suffered serious injuries and a car insurance company won’t pay your claim. We know that car accidents can be complicated, especially when multiple vehicles are involved. When you call one of the Los Angeles car accident attorneys from the law offices of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our team will handle all of the legal elements of your case and work hard to recover your maximum settlement amount so you can focus on the more important things in life. To schedule your free consultation, reach out to our team online or by phone today. We are ready to serve you!
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