Multi-vehicle accidents, also called chain reaction accidents or pile ups, are a serious of collisions with three or more vehicles plowing one into another in a domino effect. Usually, after the first collision, the driver who was first hit impacts the next driver and so on until there are no vehicles left in front or the impact isn’t enough to push the last car into another collision. These accidents can cause severe injuries or fatalities because motorists suffer several impacts before the chain ends, and the drivers don’t expect an impending collision. Though not all collisions in these accidents result from negligence, the primary crash triggering the domino effect often does – whether due to distracted driving, improper lane changes, tailgating, or speeding. If you were injured in this type of collision, contact a Lake Elsinore Chain Reaction and Multi-Vehicle Accident Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation.
Risk of Multi-Vehicle Accidents in Lake Elsinore Multi-vehicle accidents account for just under half of the motor vehicle fatalities each year, and they are exceedingly common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly 2 million of these collisions occur annually – almost 33% of the total accidents. High traffic areas like Lake Elsinore, with the massive, congested 15 freeway, large commuting population, and heavy tourism industry encouraging travel to the lake and other nearly sights, run a high risk of multi-vehicle accidents and resulting injuries. In April 2019, 7 people were injured in a 4-vehicle crash on the 15 freeway south of Lake Street due to distracted motorists observing the poppy “super bloom” visible from the freeway.
How Do Chain Reaction Accidents Occur? Chain reaction and multi-vehicle accidents can occur in several different ways, each of which presents a unique challenge when determining fault and proving negligence for your case. However, there are a few scenarios that are more common than others when it comes to multi-vehicle accidents.
- The front vehicle moves into a lane and suddenly brakes, giving the vehicle behind them no time to brake and prevent an accident. This leaves the motorist that rear ended the first vehicle vulnerable to then being hit themselves by the car behind them. In these situations, the driver who changed lanes and hit the brakes is usually at fault.
- The middle vehicle in a chain reaction claims the vehicle behind them collided with their vehicle and pushed them forward into the vehicle in front. This is sometimes tricky to verify because it essentially becomes one driver’s story over another’s.
- A driver rear ends the vehicle in from of them, causing that vehicle to rear end the one in front of them. The driver responsible for the initial rear end collision is usually at fault.
- Phantom vehicle chain reaction accidents occur when the vehicle furthest back began the multi-vehicle accident but then claims they were actually hit by another vehicle and pushed into the second car, but the vehicle that hit them drove off in a hit and run. Determining fault here can be complicated at times, but often investigation such as checking the vehicle claiming they were the victim of a hit and run for new damage can verify or disprove the claim.
How Do I Recover for My Injuries? Recovering compensation for chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident injuries involves determining who was responsible for the accident; or, in legal terms, whose negligence caused the accident. Even though this sounds straightforward, often it’s a complex process. Generally, to prove negligence, you must show the defendant had a legal duty of care to you, breached their duty by either acting or else failing to act when they should have acted, and that breach caused you harm and made you incur damages. Another way to create the presumption someone was negligent is demonstrating that they broke a law or rule – in most car accident cases a traffic law like speeding – and that violation caused the accident and your injuries.
Proving negligence can be difficult in chain reaction cases, because road conditions, weather conditions, time of day, driver negligence and contributory negligence may all factor into determining fault. In cases like this, eyewitness accounts, photographs you take of the scene, police reports, damage to the vehicles involved, and on-scene evidence such as skid marks can help prove fault for the accident and negligent behavior. Though usually the person who initiated the crash is usually the negligent party and at fault, the wide variety of possible chain reaction crash scenarios can make establishing liability difficult and are best handled by an experienced attorney.
Will I Be Compensated for My Injuries? It’s common to see injuries such as whiplash, back injuries, head trauma, and soft tissue damage from these collisions. Even though no amount of money will undo the trauma you endured, the court may award you damages for harms proven to have been caused by someone’s negligence. Some damages are meant to make you whole and can be awarded for a variety of injuries. Compensatory damages can be given for both economic and noneconomic harms such as:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Property Damage, and
- Pain and Suffering.
In a few cases, someone’s behavior is so vile or egregious that the court may award the victim additional damages specifically designed to punish the bad behavior and deter repetition of the conduct in the future. Though punitive damage awards can be large, they’re difficult to get because of the high burden of proof and the discretionary nature of the damages.
Contact an Attorney Any car accident is traumatic and can be overwhelming; however, multi-vehicle accidents often mean more headaches for everyone involved – including you. Injury victims often find themselves handling communications with several other drivers as well as insurance companies dealing while trying to recover from their own injuries. If you were hurt in one of these collisions, contact the Lake Elsinore Chain Reaction and Multi-Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with insurers and delivering personalized representation for clients just like you. Let us handle your headache so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today to schedule your no risk, no obligation initial case review. We are available 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule your confidential consultation. The initial evaluation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Talk to the attorneys that have your best interests at heart and let us start fighting to get the best possible outcome from an unfortunate situation for you.