Most car accidents that occur in Pueblo involve two vehicles, and are usually the result of one of the driver’s negligent actions, such as failing to yield or performing an illegal or improper maneuver. What is less common, however, as well as more complex when it comes to assessing liability, is a multi-vehicle accident. Multi-vehicle accidents, also called pileups or chain-reaction accidents, involve more than just two vehicles, leading to questions about who’s to blame, whether or not fault is shared amongst multiple drivers, and who will pay for damages. At the offices of McCormick & Murphy, P.C., our Pueblo multi-vehicle accident lawyers can help you to understand your rights and options following a multi-vehicle crash that has resulted in damages, as well as how fault is determined and the importance of a comprehensive investigation. Call our multi-vehicle accident attorneys today to request your free case consultation.
Causes of and Risk Factors for Multi-vehicle Accidents
Just like nearly all other accidents that occur, multi-vehicle accidents are typically caused by the negligence of one (or more) driver(s). Examples of negligence that can lead to an accident in which multiple vehicles are involved include:
Following too closely. Following too closely is a common cause of pileup accidents, and may be a behavior that more than one driver in the accident engages in. (For example, if drivers were providing more room between their vehicle and others, then even if an accident up ahead occurs, drivers could potentially avoid hitting the vehicle in front of them).
Speeding. The faster that vehicles are traveling, the greater the risk of an accident. Stopping times are increased when speed is increased, and faster vehicles can be more difficult to control, too. In addition to increasing accident risk, speeding also increases the severity of a crash should one occur.
Performing illegal maneuvers. Performing maneuvers such as illegally changing lanes, failing to yield, cutting off another driver, failing to come to a complete stop, running a red light, and more all increase the risk of a crash.
Traffic. The more vehicles that are around and the greater the concentration of traffic congestion, the greater the risk of a multi-vehicle accident.
Distracted driving. Driving while distracted is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do, especially in times of high traffic. When levels of congestion are high, it is imperative that a driver pay attention to the road so as to avoid an accident themself, as well as avoid hitting another vehicle that’s involved in a crash.
Running stop signs or stoplights. When a driver fails to stop at a stop sign or red light, the initial collision can often result in other vehicles being impacted.
Common Injuries in Multi-vehicle Accidents
The types of injuries that may be suffered by occupants of motor vehicles involved in a chain-reaction accident can vary greatly. Typically, the first two vehicles to collide suffer the greatest degree of damages, and therefore the occupants of these vehicles are most severely injured. The third, fourth, fifth, and so on vehicle that collides usually does so as a result of following too closely, and may therefore not be traveling at full speed (because they have applied the brakes in an attempt to avoid the collision), resulting in fewer damages. However, this is not always the case; it is very possible for injuries suffered by all those involved in a crash to be severe, or for none of the occupants to have serious injuries.
That being said, some common injuries include face and traumatic brain injuries (which can be the result of hitting an object, making contact with the airbag, and whiplash), whiplash injuries, soft tissue injuries (including back and neck strain injuries), bone fractures, and internal injuries. It is also possible for a victim to suffer catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord injuries or limb amputation injuries.
Determining Fault Following a Multi-vehicle Accident
After a multi-vehicle accident occurs, determining how the accident happened and who’s to blame for the injuries that have resulted is key. This is because Colorado is an at-fault car accident state; drivers who cause crashes through negligent actions are responsible for the resulting injuries (via their liability insurance and possibly other sources).
As mentioned above, determining fault can be difficult. Consider a multi-vehicle crash that involves four vehicles: Even if it is clear that vehicle #1 hit vehicle #2, should vehicle #3 be held liable for a portion of vehicle #2’s damages because they were following too closely, or would vehicle #3 not have made contact with vehicle #2 but for the fact that vehicle #4 pushed vehicle #3 into vehicle #2? And what about vehicle #1’s liability for all of the others’ damages? In multi-vehicle crashes, fault will often be shared amongst two or more parties; however, determining the degree of fault can be complicated.
In order to make a determination about fault, a thorough investigation should be conducted immediately, and the expertise of a vehicle reconstruction expert is critical. Other forms of evidence, such as notes about vehicles’ positions, eyewitnesses’ testimonies, video footage of the accident, vehicle electronic control module data, and more should all be examined, too.
Why You Need a Pueblo Multi-vehicle Accident Attorney
If you are facing serious losses after being involved in a pileup or chain-reaction crash, you will likely very much benefit from the counsel of a Pueblo multi-vehicle accident attorney. At the law offices of McCormick & Murphy, P.C., our multi-vehicle accident lawyers in Pueblo, CO have the resources that are required to adequately investigate your case, hire experts, and devote the requisite time and attention. Our lawyers will also calculate your damages, review all applicable insurance policies, and negotiate your settlement. Our role is to handle the vast majority of your claim so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back to your life.
Call Our Pueblo Car Accident Lawyers Today
Being involved in a crash can be very scary, and even more frustrating can be not knowing who’s responsible for your crashes or against whom to file a claim. Our Pueblo multi-vehicle accident lawyers will work hard for you and focus on getting you the settlement you deserve. Please call us today at (719) 389-0400 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.