Texans know a thing or two about traffic. Whether it’s on the long and busy highways, or the cramped roads of downtown San Antonio, we understand that driving can be a bit tricky sometimes. So what happens when someone’s car hits another car and that car hits you? Who’s responsible when there’s a chain of four or five cars hitting each other, and you’re one of them?
Determining liability can be tricky in those situations, but there are certain things to know that can help you ensure that you receive the compensation you’re due. One of the most important things you can do, after making sure you’re safe and seen to by a doctor, is get in touch with a San Antonio personal injury attorney who knows exactly what to do after a multi-vehicle accident.
How is liability determined in a multi-car wreck?
In a multi-vehicle accident, determining liability can be an intricate process due to the number of vehicles involved and the different types of crashes within the accident. Liability typically falls on the driver whose negligent actions or behaviors directly contributed to causing the accident. These actions might include reckless driving behaviors – speeding, failure to maintain a safe following distance, disregarding traffic signals – drunk driving, or distracted driving. Sometimes, more than one driver’s actions can contribute to the accident, making it necessary to apportion fault among multiple parties.
Liability is established by investigating the sequence of events leading up to the collision. Eyewitness accounts, driver statements, and physical evidence from the accident scene are often examined to reconstruct the accident and assign responsibility. It’s essential to determine who breached their duty of care to operate their vehicle safely, leading to the collision.
To accurately establish liability in multi-vehicle accidents, it’s often advisable to consult with legal professionals who specialize in personal injury and car accident cases. Pat Maloney, Jr. is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He can help navigate the complexities of determining fault and pursuing appropriate legal actions if necessary.
The importance of filing a police report after a San Antonio car accident
A police report is critical to obtain in the aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident, as it provides a comprehensive and objective account of the incident. Its importance lies in its ability to serve as a crucial piece of evidence that can assist in various aspects of the post-accident process, including a lawsuit.
Ways in which a police report can help include:
- Accurate documentation. A police report usually provides an accurate and detailed record of the accident scene, including the location, time, weather conditions, and the sequence of events leading up to the collision. This documentation helps establish the facts surrounding the accident, ensuring that important details are accurately captured and preserved.
- Driver statements. The police report includes statements from drivers involved in the accident, which can offer insight into each party’s perspective of what occurred. These statements can be valuable when determining liability and assessing the actions of each driver leading up to the crash.
- Witness accounts. Eyewitnesses often contribute vital information to a police report. Their unbiased observations can corroborate or clarify the events, providing an external perspective on how the accident occurred. Witness statements can carry weight when establishing fault.
- Visual documentation. Police officers usually take photographs of the accident scene, including vehicle positions, damage, and any contributing factors like skid marks or road conditions. These images offer visual evidence that can help recreate the accident and assess the extent of damage.
- Traffic violations. If any traffic violations contributed to the accident, such as running a red light or speeding, these violations are noted in the police report. This information can play a role in determining liability and insurance claims.
- Official record. The police report serves as an official record of the accident. Insurance companies and legal professionals rely on this document to accurately understand the circumstances and details of the accident, helping facilitate the claims process and any potential legal actions.
In accidents involving multiple vehicles, a police report is essential to understand what happened. It gives an unbiased overview of the accident, helping with insurance claims, discussions, and legal actions. If you’re in a multi-vehicle accident, having a police report can help ensure a fair outcome.
Note: sometimes, police reports contain errors. Officers are only human, after all. If this is the case with your accident, rest assured that we can still help you.
The role of comparative negligence in a multi-vehicle pileup
Comparative negligence is a legal principle that plays a significant role in multi-vehicle accidents when pursuing a lawsuit in Texas. Under the comparative negligence doctrine, the degree to which each party involved in the accident is responsible for causing the collision is assessed. This assessment affects the amount of compensation each party may be entitled to receive, considering their respective levels of fault.
In Texas, the modified comparative negligence rule is followed, specifically the “51% Bar Rule.” This rule states that to recover damages, a party must be found less than 51% responsible for the accident. If a party’s degree of fault exceeds 50%, they are barred from seeking compensation from other parties.
In the context of a multi-vehicle accident, comparative negligence can significantly impact the outcome of a lawsuit:
- Determining fault distribution. In a multi-vehicle accident, establishing the degree of fault for each driver can be intricate due to multiple contributing factors. Comparative negligence assesses the actions of each driver involved, considering aspects like speeding, following distance, right of way, and adherence to traffic laws.
- Proportional compensation. If you plan on filing a lawsuit, the court will determine the percentage of fault assigned to each party. The compensation awarded is then adjusted based on this percentage. For instance, if you’re found 20% at fault and the total damages are $100,000, you may recover $80,000 (80% of the damages).
- Shared liability. Comparative negligence recognizes that multiple parties may share responsibility for a multi-vehicle accident. Even if you are partially at fault, you may still be eligible for compensation as long as your degree of fault does not exceed the 51% threshold.
Because your compensation can be reduced if you’re found at fault for the crash or your own injuries, you really want to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can. Our goal is to show that your actions did not significantly affect the outcome of the collision. We are also your safeguard against insurance companies. Even your own insurer is looking to protect its bottom line, and anything you say can be used against you. It really is best for you to call us before you speak to anyone about the crash, your injuries, and what kind of compensation you need.
All these complicating factors point to the fact that a car accident attorney is a necessity if you are involved in a multi-vehicle accident. At the Law Offices of Pat Maloney, we are experienced in representing clients who have been injured in accidents where several vehicles are involved. We know how to handle the paperwork, collect evidence, interpret police reports, and gather and organize everything necessary in order to secure for you the compensation you deserve. To arrange a free consultation with a seasoned multi-vehicle accident attorney in San Antonio, simply reach out to us by phone or complete our contact form.