Seattle Multi-Vehicle Accident Lawyers
While any auto accident can feel frightening, crashes involving numerous vehicles likely feel very traumatic, even without serious injuries.
Technically a collision involving two cars could be considered a multi-vehicle accident, but the term is typically used in reference to three or more vehicles. These are also known as chain-reaction or pile-up accidents.
Pileups often occur at high speeds and can cause catastrophic injuries or worse. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2018 there were 191 deaths in Washington from accidents with three or more vehicles.
The number of participants complicates this type of collision. Injured parties can find themselves in multifaceted legal claims with several insurance companies. If you or a family member has been involved in a multi-vehicle accident, you could be entitled to compensation.
But to receive maximum compensation, you’ll need a Seattle car accident attorney experienced in dealing with the complex nature of multi-vehicle accidents. The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee has represented many clients involved in multi-vehicle collisions, and we have the knowledge to handle your case. Contact us today at (206) 312-0954 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Why You Need The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee as Your Advocate
The aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident can feel overwhelming. You are trying to heal from your injuries and wondering what to do next. Without proper legal representation, you would be negotiating with the insurance companies alone. By doing so, you may risk settling your claim for less than you deserve.
Let us put your mind at ease. You can focus on your recovery while we deal with everything else. Our team will work in your best interest and handle the following:
- Filing insurance claims promptly
- Ascertaining who is liable for the accident
- Retaining any experts necessary to support your claim
- Establishing the amount of compensation owed to you
- Negotiating the most advantageous personal injury settlement
- Representing you in court if a trial is required
With The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee by your side, you can leave the work to us and receive a more favorable outcome than if you faced this alone.
Circumstances and Causes of Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Multi-vehicle collisions start with two vehicles striking each other. Subsequent crashes are caused because other drivers cannot maneuver their vehicles to avoid the accident. Various situations cause multi-vehicle accidents, but many of them happen in the following circumstances:
- Left turns – Crossing over one or more opposing lanes of heavy traffic to make a left turn can be precarious, especially when drivers don’t leave enough time for their vehicle to get past oncoming cars.
- Intersections – When a motorist fails to yield the right-of-way at a traffic light or a two-way or four-way stop, they end up in another vehicle’s path.
- Striking from behind – If one car stops abruptly, the vehicles behind it are likely to strike it from behind. Rear-end collisions are prevalent and often involve several automobiles.
- Crossing into another lane – Veering into an adjoining or oncoming lane of traffic can result in hitting another vehicle, and the commotion will cause yet another vehicle to crash.
The factors that contribute to multi-vehicle accidents tend to be negligent behavior or human error — although not always.
Some of the more common issues include:
- Reckless driving – The category of reckless driving includes a broad array of potentially dangerous behavior, such as speeding, following too closely, ignoring caution signs, failing to yield, or careless passing and lane changing.
- Distracted driving – Feeling fatigued or drowsy, attempting to focus on a phone or a conversation with a passenger, or reaching for items: these are a few of the behaviors that take drivers’ attention away from operating their vehicle safely.
- Driving under the influence – Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol affects a person’s cognitive ability. Trying to drive while in this condition is destructive and dangerous.
- Road conditions – The surface of a road and visibility for a driver can be greatly affected by inclement weather. Snow, ice, and heavy rain can cause vehicles to slip and slide, especially if driven at high speeds. Other factors, such as construction zones that restrict driving space, can create a multi-vehicle collision.
Determining Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
Identifying the responsible parties in a multi-vehicle accident presents unique challenges. The investigation entails piecing together the critical moments leading up to the crash from varying accounts of the people involved and other eyewitnesses. Sometimes the blame lies with more than one party.
Washington is a pure comparative fault state when it comes to personal injury claims. This means that a percentage of fault is assigned to each person involved in the accident, and each is responsible for that percentage of the other person’s damages.
For example, if you incur $50,000 in damages and are 25 percent at fault, your award would be reduced by $12,500, and you would only receive $37,500. In a multi-vehicle crash, fault is often distributed among more than two parties. One party could be 30 percent at fault, and two others could be assigned 35 percent each.
Joint and Several Liability
Washington law allows for an exception to the comparative fault rule called joint and several liability. It impacts how responsibility for a personal injury claim is shared. This exception applies to a claimant who is free of any fault in the accident and allows them to collect damages from any or all liable parties.
The claimant’s benefit is that if the party who bears most of the liability does not have the means to pay what they owe, the other parties who have more financial assets are required to pay more than their share to ensure that the fault-free injured person is fully compensated.
For example, if a fault-free claimant has $50,000 in damages, then each liable party can be responsible for the full $50,000, even if they are only 10 percent at fault. If only one of the parties has to pay the claimant the full amount, they are entitled to receive contributions from the other liable parties, according to the proportion of fault they were assigned.
If none of the liable parties have the insurance coverage or financial resources to pay the fault-free claimant, no recovery is possible. However, there is often a good chance that at least one liable party will have the necessary assets in multi-vehicle collisions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Multi-Vehicle Accidents
These are some answers to common questions after someone is involved in a multi-vehicle accident. We would be happy to provide you with more detailed information during an initial consultation to gather all the details of your particular situation.
How long will my multi-vehicle accident case take?
This question is on every person’s mind after they’ve sustained an injury from a car accident, but we can never give a specific answer. Each case has its own set of variables regarding the insurance policy’s limitations, how quickly the insurance company processes the claim, how extensive your injuries are, and many other particulars. We cannot say how long a case will take unless we have all the details. Even then, we can only estimate.
Do I have a time limit for filing my multi-vehicle accident claim?
Yes. Each state has laws called statutes of limitations that set a deadline for filing personal injury claims and lawsuits. For Washington accident victims, the statute of limitations is three years.
What are the chances that my case will go to trial?
Most personal injury cases are settled without having to file a lawsuit. A settlement is also often reached outside of trial. However, if we think it’s in your best interest to use the court system to pursue the compensation you deserve, we will represent you and make sure you get the compensation you need. We will also make sure you go to trial with all the evidence you need to support your claim. That means we will gather witness statements, driver records, police reports, and much more. We will ensure that you have all the proof you need to support maximum compensation for your injuries.
How much does legal representation for a multi-vehicle accident claim cost?
You don’t have to worry about paying us out of your pocket. We do not charge upfront fees or for our expenses unless we successfully obtain a favorable outcome for you. What you owe the firm is deducted from the award you receive at the end of the case.
Learn About Your Rights and Get Representation
Attaining fair compensation for injuries from an auto accident can be challenging, but it is further complicated when the collision involved multiple vehicles. If you try to handle this without legal advice, you will be working with inadequate resources and information.
When you have The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee by your side, you won’t have to face both your recovery and the complexities of a personal injury claim. Let our experienced and compassionate team give our best effort on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve. We welcome you to contact our office at (206) 312-0954 or online to schedule a free initial consultation.