What to do if you were injured in a multi-vehicle pileup or multiple vehicle car accident?
Multi-vehicle pileup car accidents are just one of the scary realties that come with driving a car. A multiple vehicle crash, commonly referred to as a “pileup”, is a series of traffic collisions involving more than two vehicles. Usually, a vehicle pileup occurs when one vehicle rear ends another which then pushes the front vehicle into the rear of the automobile in front of it. A vehicle pileup can also occur when there are multiple rear end accidents following an initial rear end accident.
These types of collisions are common on freeways and usually occur when road conditions are poor and visibility levels are low. This makes it difficult for vehicles to stop or brake in time to avoid a rear end crash. Heavy rain, snow, ice and even dust storms can all impact driving conditions in Arizona and affect braking time. All these adverse conditions can contribute to rear end accidents and create a potential multi-vehicle pileup crash.
These types of collisions are common on freeways and usually occur when road conditions are poor and visibility levels are low.
More often than not, vehicle pileups are a chain reaction of events which result in multiple victims of property damage and personal injury. Because drivers travel at high speeds on the freeway, the ability to stop, slow down, or avoid other vehicles is much more difficult in comparison to driving on a residential roadway. The types of vehicles involved can also determine the severity of the collision. For example, a collision involving a tractor trailer or semi-truck is much more likely to result in significant forces than a collision involving a small sedan. Car accidents that generate significant forces are more likely to cause serious and catastrophic injuries.
Below is a video that shows part of the massive multi-vehicle pileup that occurred this year in Fort Worth, Texas. This pileup was one of the worst in modern history. Over 100 vehicles were involved and at least six people were killed. The video, provided by Inside Edition, does an excellent job at demonstrating just how devastating a vehicle pileup can be.
How does a multi-vehicle pileup affect your personal injury case?
What effect a multi-vehicle pileup car accident has on your personal injury claim requires analyzing all the facts. Specifically, it requires distributing fault to all those involved in the collision that could be responsible for your injuries. It also involves an analysis of the multiple automobile insurance policies that are available and the interplay between those policies.
In many situations, the vehicle that may have caused the most damage, may not be the vehicle most responsible for causing the crash. Likewise, the vehicle with minimal damage may be 100% at fault for causing the crash. As a general rule, a person injured in a multi-vehicle collision can recover money from any other driver who contributed to that person’s injuries.
More than one person can be at fault. In the state of Arizona, an at-fault driver is only liable to the extent he or she is at fault. For example, one driver may be 50% at fault for initially causing the collision by executing an illegal lane change and another driver may also be 50% at fault for contributing towards the collision in some other way. Many times, another driver’s speed, lack of concentration and lack of following distance on the road can actually contribute to the pileup by generating more force than the initial wrongdoer.
Likewise, a vehicle that comes to a lawful stop may be subject to multiple impacts from behind. For example, the first impact would only involve the front vehicle and the second vehicle immediately behind it. However, there could be several other impacts as subsequent drivers are unable to stop in time to avoid the initial crash. A third vehicle could hit the second vehicle and a fourth vehicle could also impact the chain. All the vehicles behind the first vehicle could be responsible for any resulting injuries because they all failed to maintain a safe distance to avoid a crash. Below is a diagram from an Arizona crash report in a multi-vehicle pileup case that our Scottsdale car accident attorneys handled. The diagram shows a multi-vehicle pileup where this is exactly what happened.
Each crash can transfer energy to the front vehicle and cause injury. In this situation, each impact would have to be analyzed to determine how it contributed to the injury. Each driver responsible for the impact would then be responsible for injuries he or she caused. When your case goes to trial, a jury attributes a percentage of fault to each party responsible. For this reason, it is critical that a thorough investigation be conducted to ensure that all potential wrongdoers are considered.
What Should You Do If You Were Involved in a Multi-vehicle pileup Car Accident?
Preserving and gathering the evidence you need to win is the most important step in any injury case. However, multi-vehicle pileups are unique in comparison to a standard car accident. The collision scene is often hectic, with several people either confused, injured or scared. Not to mention, the flow of traffic is usually halted which creates another layer of stress and urgency on the road.
The most helpful thing you can do in a pileup car accident is to remain calm and contact the police immediately. Taking photographs of the scene is also a good idea if it is safe to do so and your injuries do not prevent you from taking them. Photographs will be one of the only tangible pieces of evidence you will have at your disposal so it is important to obtain them.
The most helpful thing you can do in a pileup car accident is to remain calm and contact the police immediately.
Second, it is important to have your injuries assessed. Even if you do not feel immediate pain, you should still seek medical attention after a serious vehicle pileup. Injuries to the cervical and lumbar spine are common in pileup car accidents and the onset of symptoms can be delayed by hours or even days.
You should also consult with an experienced personal injury attorney and obtain legal representation. As previously stated, multiple vehicle car accidents require a certain degree of expertise. The skilled attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers have successfully represented victims of vehicle pileup car accidents and are ready to help you.
Contact a Scottsdale Car Accident Attorney if You Were Involved in a Multiple Vehicle Collision
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury as the result of a multi-vehicle pileup contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers today. An experienced personal injury attorney is available now to discuss your case. A consultation is free. There is no retainer to pay or any up-front costs or fees. We only earn a fee if we recover money for you.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.