It’s a nightmare scenario:
On your morning commute, someone a few cars behind you rear-ends the driver ahead of them. That triggers a chain reaction where each car bumped hits the vehicle ahead of them. Or it’s pushed out into the next lane and extends the damage. Unsurprisingly, these types of accidents result in more serious injuries and higher odds of fatalities than a typical 2-car collision.
You might be physically okay, but another nightmare—less serious than the one above, but a nightmare nonetheless—awaits. You’ve got to file an insurance claim. And multiple-car accident insurance issues are a notorious hornets’ nest.
The first problem comes with establishing fault. In a 2-car scenario, that’s straightforward. If your state functions on contributory negligence, it’s black and white—you either are or aren’t at fault. Even if comparative negligence applies, it’s still a simple question of determining what percentage of fault each driver shares and their insurance companies picking up corresponding amounts of the tab.
But who is at fault in a multiple-car accident? Let’s say the driver whose collision started it all was speeding. It’s easy enough to start there. But what if the person 2 cars up might have been able to stop the chain reaction, but didn’t because they were texting while driving? What if you weren’t at fault for being hit from behind, but because you were following too closely, you do bear some responsibility for hitting the car ahead of you? The array of possible combinations of negligence and liability can be seemingly endless.
It’s the responsibility of insurance investigators to sort this all out. Presumably, there are also multiple insurance companies involved in the claims process, which only adds further complications. Each one will assign an investigator to find out what happened—to talk to witnesses and police officers and read the accident reports. Collectively, the investigators will reach some type of conclusion on how fault is to be divvied up.
But you know full well that insurance investigators are hardly unbiased detectives simply looking for the truth. They’re being paid by firms with a vested interest in a favorable outcome. That’s true even in the simplest of circumstances and for the most modest of claims. But what about now, with potentially millions of dollars on the table? And perhaps wrongful death lawsuits in the works as well? The insurance companies will be watching out for themselves.
You aren’t without options though. Hire a personal injury attorney to represent you and get medical attention immediately. You also have the right to hire your own investigator, one who will have your best interests in mind.
The financial and legal stakes in multiple-car accident issues are exceptionally high. The drivers involved certainly didn’t ask for it, but they are in a battle that must be played to win.