Multi-Vehicle Collisions in Florida and Who Is At-Fault
Some of the most horrific accidents involve more than just two cars. In fact, multi-vehicle accidents often end up with some of the worst injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. Because so many cars are involved in a multi-vehicle crash, it often brings the question: Who is liable for the damage?
What Is a Multi-Vehicle Accident?
Multi-vehicle accidents are essentially a chain reaction of more than two vehicles colliding with each other. They normally occur when one collision happens in a line of vehicles. One car will rear-end the car in front of it, which will push that second car into the third, and so on. When it comes to determining fault, many assume that it is the first driver who drove into the second car, and therefore, the first driver is the one who is responsible. However, that is not always the case. In fact, many times, multiple drivers may have been careless or negligent, and more than one individual may play a role in why the accident occurred and the seriousness of the injuries.
Why Do Multi-Vehicle Collisions Happen?
A multi-vehicle collision can happen for a number of reasons. Many times, cars are following each other too closely, which makes it easier for them to hit the car in front of them. Many multi-vehicle accidents happen during inclement weather conditions, such as when there is low-visibility or icy or wet roads. One of the most common ways these accidents happen is due to distracted driving. The driver is driving too fast, not paying attention and cannot stop in time to allow the driver behind them to stop. If one car stops abruptly, and the cars behind it are traveling at a fast speed, this often results in a pile-up.
Florida Comparative Fault Law
Every state has its own set of laws for determining who is at fault in a car accident, particularly when it comes to multi-vehicle collisions. Comparative fault comes into play when several individuals play some sort of role in the accident, and fault is divided accordingly. Florida operates under what is known as the “pure comparative fault” system. While some states prohibit drivers from receiving any damages if they were only one percent at fault for the accident, Florida law states that whatever amount a plaintiff is at fault for an accident, his or her damages will be diminished by that percentage. Being somewhat at fault for an accident does not purely bar recovery. If the plaintiff is determined to be 10 percent at fault for the accident, and the award for damages is $10,000, that means that he or she would only be able to recover $9,000, as the total payout would be reduced by 10 percent. Pure comparative fault also means that the person who is 90 percent responsible for the accident could still recover a small amount of money for his or her injuries against the other drivers who were determined to be 10 percent at fault for the accident.
What If A Driver Suffered from a Medical Emergency?
What happens if the driver who caused the multi-vehicle collision suffered from a medical emergency at the time of the accident? To recover from this driver, the plaintiff would need to show that the driver who caused the accident was negligent. This would require proving the standard elements of negligence, including duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages. If the driver knew or should have known that he or she should not be behind the wheel because of the risk that a medical emergency would occur, but he or she got behind the wheel regardless and caused an accident, the plaintiff could say the driver was negligent. A personal injury attorney will be able to assist the plaintiff in best preparing this argument.
What to Do If You Are in a Multi-Vehicle Collision
If you are involved in a multi-vehicle collision, it is important that you exchange information with all of the drivers involved, not just the one who is suspected of causing the accident. It should be assumed that all information will be needed. It is also important that you get the contact information of any witnesses, take as many photos as you can of injuries and damage to your vehicle, and a copy of the police report at the accident scene.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH A MIAMI AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida it is very important to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney immediately. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients.
Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital. Call us today, we are ready to help.