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How to Handle a Car Accident Claim Involving Multiple Vehicles

If you’ve been injured, dealing with multiple insurance companies can be complex

Car accidents involving only two vehicles are stressful and overwhelming enough. However, insurance claims involving multiple vehicles are even more complex for crash victims to navigate. Imagine driving on a busy highway when suddenly, a chain reaction of collisions occurs. In the blink of an eye, several cars are tangled in a catastrophic scene.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, multi-vehicle collisions (also called pile-ups) account for a significant portion of traffic accidents. As such, it’s important to be well prepared and understand your rights if you ever are in such a crash. An experienced car accident lawyer at Szantho Law Firm in New Mexico can help you file a claim and seek compensation for your damages.

What causes multi-vehicle car accidents?

Multi-vehicle car accidents involve three or more vehicles and can be linked to:

  • Distracted driving, such as cellphone use and in-car distractions (e.g., eating or adjusting the radio).
  • Following too closely or tailgating other vehicles.
  • Excessive speeding or driving too fast during hazardous weather conditions.
  • Drowsy or impaired driving.
  • Aggressive driving, such as weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Unsafe lane changes or failure to check blind spots.
  • Mechanical failures such as failed brakes and tire blowouts.

Where do multi-vehicle car accidents typically happen?

Multi-vehicle car accidents typically occur in specific environments and under particular conditions. Here are some common locations where these accidents are most likely to happen:

  • Highways and freeways: When a crash occurs at high speed, the chances of involving multiple vehicles increase significantly.
  • Traffic congestion: During rush hours or in high-traffic areas, the close proximity of vehicles can lead to chain-reaction collisions if one vehicle stops suddenly.
  • Intersections: Intersections involve vehicles traveling in multiple directions, which increases the risk of multiple collisions.
  • Rural roads: Rural roads may have curves, hills, and fewer streetlights, which reduces visibility and increases the chances of multi-vehicle accidents.
  • Construction zones: Construction zones often involve lane shifts, narrowed lanes, sudden stops, and confusing signage, all of which can contribute to multi-vehicle accidents.

What should I do after being involved in a multi-vehicle accident?

The first and foremost priority after any accident is ensuring the safety and health of everyone involved. If you are able, move your vehicle to a safe location, such as the shoulder of the road, to prevent further collisions. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the situation.

Also, check yourself and your passengers for injuries and call emergency services immediately if anyone is hurt. Once safety is ensured, contact law enforcement to report the accident, especially if there are injuries, significant property damage, or multiple vehicles involved.

When the police arrive, provide them with accurate information and cooperate fully while they document the crash scene. A police report can provide an official and impartial account of the accident.

While waiting for the police to arrive, exchange contact and insurance information with all drivers involved. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and insurance policy details. If there are witnesses to the accident, collect their contact information as well, as their statements could support your claim.

Also, use your phone to take clear photos and videos of the overall scene, individual vehicle damages, license plates, and any visible injuries. Capture the position of the vehicles before they are moved, as well as the road conditions, skid marks, and any traffic signs or signals.

What should I do after leaving the crash scene?

Once law enforcement has completed their initial investigation, you should get immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. In many cases, it can take days for an injury to begin showing symptoms. The longer you wait to get medical help, the worse your injury will likely get. Plus, getting a prompt medical evaluation helps link your injury to the crash.

You will also need to report the multi-vehicle car accident to your insurance company to initiate the claims process. Provide them with all the information you have gathered, including the other drivers’ details, witness contacts, and documentation of the scene.

Lastly, get legal help from an experienced New Mexico car accident lawyer at Szantho Law Firm. Avoid speaking to the insurance companies representing other drivers involved. If they contact you for a recorded statement, let them know that you have legal representation, and all future communications should go through your lawyer. This way, you don’t say something that can be misinterpreted as admitting fault.

How is fault determined in multi-vehicle car accidents?

Determining fault in multi-vehicle accidents can be complex due to the involvement of multiple parties and the sequence of events leading to the collision. Typically, fault is assessed based on traffic laws, witness statements, and evidence from the accident scene.

Police reports play an important role in this process as they provide an official account and initial determination of fault. In some cases, accident reconstruction experts may be employed to analyze the crash dynamics and establish a clear picture of how the accident occurred.

Additionally, New Mexico uses the pure comparative negligence rule, which allocates fault among multiple parties involved in a car accident. Under this system, each party can recover damages proportional to their degree of fault, regardless of how much they are at fault.

For example, if a driver is found to be 80% at fault, they can still recover 20% of their total damages.

How much is my settlement after a multi-vehicle collision in New Mexico?

Your settlement can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. It all depends on how serious your injuries are and how much they impact your life. The more severe your injuries and related losses are, the more money you’ll be eligible for when seeking compensation.

The damages you may be eligible for include:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Lost wages and future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Cost of daily assistance.
  • Wrongful death benefits (if you lost a loved one in a crash).

Contact a car accident lawyer to help you sort through the claims process

If you were injured in a multi-vehicle car accident, you shouldn't have to bear the burden of another driver's negligence alone. The aftermath of such accidents can be overwhelming, with medical bills piling up, and lost wages affecting your livelihood.

Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts, especially when they stand to lose a significant amount of money from a multi-vehicle pileup. And when multiple insurance companies are involved, they all have one goal: to reduce their liability and pay crash victims as little as possible.

However, an attorney at Szantho Law Firm can take on the insurance companies and fight to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

We offer personalized attention to each case we handle. Our proven track record of securing maximum settlements and verdicts demonstrates our commitment to our clients. Don't let insurance companies undervalue your claim. Contact us for a free case evaluation, and let us fight for the justice and financial compensation you deserve.

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