Complications and complex issues may follow multiple-vehicle accidents in Virginia. While you may feel disoriented and worried after a crash, an experienced attorney knows exactly what to do. It’s important to learn the most common causes of multiple-car crashes, and a lawyer can help you understand how Virginia liability laws work and how to determine who may be at fault.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents Lead to Serious Injury
It’s possible you or others were seriously injured in the wreck—because multiple-vehicle accidents often involve hits from multiple angles, from multiple vehicles, and at different speeds. Consequently, this creates enhanced risks for serious injuries. In 2015, 39% of multiple-car crashes ended in a fatality, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Common injuries from a multiple-car crash include:
- Broken bones
- Spinal column or cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal bleeding
- Facial injury
Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Law
Virginia operates on a pure contributory negligence rule when it comes to determining car accident liability—meaning that anyone involved in a car accident who is even 1% at fault cannot recover financially for any injuries and damages. Thus, after a multiple-vehicle accident, you and your attorney must work together to show that:
- Other drivers share 100% liability for the cause of the crash
- You were 0% at fault for the car crash
Common Causes of Multiple-Vehicle Accidents
Commonly known as chain-reaction crashes, multiple-vehicle accidents make it difficult to assign blame to the appropriate at-fault driver or drivers. To determine who may be liable in any given case, it’s important to understand how multiple-car accidents happen most often. Common causes include:
- Distraction. Drivers who use their morning commutes to brush their teeth, catch up on work emails or texts, do their makeup, or eat breakfast risk road safety. Anything that distracts your manual, visual, or cognitive attention from the road could cause an accident.
- Poor weather conditions. Slippery road conditions or poor visibility can increase the risk for a collision, as many motorists may struggle to keep control of their vehicles, can’t see the see the roads properly, or are driving recklessly.
- Driver impairment. A driver who is drunk, sleepy, or otherwise impaired may cause significant damage while behind the wheel. It’s important you know how to spot a drunk or distracted driver to avoid accidents.
- Recklessness. When a driver chooses to exceed the posted speed limit, change lanes erratically, or drive aggressively, terrible accidents and injuries can follow.
Determining Liability After a Multiple-Vehicle Crash
In some two-car crashes, it can be easier to place liability—for example, in cases of a rear-end crash or a red-light violation. However, multiple-vehicle accidents take much more time, analysis, and evidence evaluation to accurately place blame.
Furthermore, this portion of your case—determining who caused or contributed to the accident—is significant, and you need an attorney who can ensure you won’t be blamed for an accident you didn’t cause. This is especially important because the other drivers’ insurance companies will work hard to reduce what they must pay out to injured victims. Pieces of evidence that can help reveal the truth about liability include:
- Skid marks
- The debris path
- Location of damage on a vehicle
- Re-creation of accident events
- Security footage
- Dashboard cameras
- Police reports
- Injury reports
- Witness statements
- Photos and videos of the scene
Your Attorney Can Help You Navigate a Claim
If you’ve recently been injured in a multiple-car accident and fear being wrongly blamed, it’s important you contact the team at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi. When you retain our firm to represent you, we will act immediately to begin the legal process. Evidence in a car accident case is key, and we can use what you collected at the scene and what we collect in the weeks following to help you recover for your losses. To get started on your case, contact our firm by starting a live online chat.