Multi-Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Austin
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Getting into a car accident is a motorist’s worst nightmare. Though a collision with one car is bad enough, a collision that involves multiple cars is even worse. Because there are multiple cars involved in a multiple vehicle accident, the question of who is to be compensated and who is to pay can get complicated.
If you've been injured in a multi-vehicle crash, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with multi-vehicle accident lawyers in Austin.
You May Be Entitled to Compensation
Compensation is sought from all those at fault in the accident. In Texas, drivers are only required to carry insurance that covers $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 in property damage. This means that if you are involved in a car accident with 2 or more cars, you may not be able to seek full compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company if there are many claimants or if the injuries are severe.
For instance, imagine if you and another driver sue the driver at fault of the multiple vehicle collision. If you and the other drive each seek $50,000 in compensation, you and the other driver may seek no more than $30,000 if the driver carries insurance that covers the bare minimum.
Types of Compensation
Accident compensation is essentially money given to compensate you for your losses and it is generally comprised of economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include the following:
- past and future medical bills
- past and future lost wages
- damaged property
- past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- past and future emotional anguish
- loss of enjoyment of activities
How to file a Multicar Accident Claim
1. Report the accident
It is always important in any accident to first contact the police to obtain an official report of the accident. This will be useful if you do file an injury claim.
2. Document the accident
If you are able, take photos of the overall scene of the collision, damages to your vehicle, and your injuries. Photographs hold greater weight than mere words and can provide strong support for your claim. Also, if there were witnesses at the scene of the accident, try to obtain their contact information.
3. Obtain other drivers’ contact and insurance information
Besides talking to the other drivers involved in the crash for their contact and insurance information, do not talk to them about anything else. If you downplay your injuries or apologize for the accident, your chances for fair compensation may decrease.
4. Get a lawyer
With insurance companies trying all sorts of negotiation tactics to give you as little compensation as possible, it is best to let a lawyer handle your case. Lawyers can help you in dealing with insurance companies and help maximize your compensation.
How long do I have to file a claim?
In Texas, you have two years from the date of injury to file a claim. If you are filing a wrongful death claim, you have two years from the date of the death to file a claim.
If you are filing on behalf of a child, however, you have until he or she reaches the age of eighteen to file a claim. Once your child reaches the age of eighteen, he or she has two years to file a claim.
For more information on the time limits surrounding your case, call an attorney today.
Who is at fault in a Pile Up Accident?
First, note that Texas does not mandate no-fault auto insurance. In general, a state that mandates “no-fault” auto insurance requires a driver’s insurance company to pay the driver for his or her personal injuries and damages. This system is different from that of a state like Texas, where a driver pays his or her insurance company primarily to insure themselves from injury or damage claims from other drivers. Thus, in Texas, any driver in a multiple vehicle car accident theoretically may be liable for damages or injuries.
Driver of the rear vehicle
Often, in a multiple vehicle accident, the driver of the rear vehicle is at fault and is called the primary offender. In these cases, the driver of the rear vehicle crashes into the car directly in front of it, causing that car to crash into the next car and so on. This type of multiple vehicle accident is called a chain reaction collision.
Driver in front
Less typically, the driver of the frontmost vehicle can primarily be at fault in a multiple vehicle accident. For instance, if the frontmost vehicle stops suddenly out of carelessness or for another reason, this can cause a multiple vehicle accident. That is because the car behind it may not be able to stop in time and end up crashing into the frontmost vehicle. Again, like in the situation above, which describes a chain reaction collision caused by a rear vehicle, a chain reaction can similarly occur due to the frontmost vehicle.
Driver in the middle
A driver of the middle vehicle can be the primary offender as well. In such cases, the driver of the middle vehicle fails to stop in time and crashes into a car in front of it that has stopped. If a car behind the middle vehicle crashes into the middle vehicle because of the middle vehicle’s sudden stop, then a multiple vehicle accident has transpired.
Even less common are multiple vehicle accidents that involve head-on collisions or side-impact collisions. Head-on collisions are collisions in which cars that are going in opposite directions crash into other. Side-impact or T-bone collisions are collisions in which a car hits the side of the vehicle rather than the front or rear.
A lawyer with experience in multiple vehicle collisions will often use experts, technology, and other evidence to figure out who is at fault. If the collision site is one where security cameras are in place, then the footage of those security cameras may be analyzed. If there were eyewitnesses at the collision site, then the eyewitnesses may be questioned. Furthermore, an attorney may look at the police report of the collision in which the drivers themselves may have either admitted to being the one at fault or pointed to the driver that may be at fault.
Am I at fault if I rear-ended somebody after being rear-ended?
If you crash into a car directly ahead of you only because a car behind you crashed into you, you will likely not be at fault. In general, a vehicle is required to stop if the vehicle directly in front of it has stopped. Therefore, a vehicle that crashes into a vehicle that has safely stopped will be likely considered the primary offender.
Yet, there are exceptions in which you may be held liable even if you had safely stopped and you only rear end someone after being rear-ended. If, for instance, your taillights malfunctioned and were not working properly on while you had stopped, you could be held liable because the driver behind you may have thought you were moving. Another scenario where you could be held liable is if your vehicle was malfunctioning, but you failed to move your vehicle off the road. For example, if your vehicle was quite clearly not accelerating properly and a car behind you ends up hitting you, you may be held liable because you might have prevented the accident if you had just moved off the road.
What is Comparative Fault?
Texas law utilizes the comparative fault system. Comparative fault means that blame may be distributed among multiple parties involved. This distribution will determine the amount of compensation or payment a party receives or pays.
In a multiple vehicle accident, determining who is at fault can be complex because the element of time is involved. For instance, if you are involved in a multiple vehicle collision that had happened quickly, you may be considered as part of a collision chain, and you may sue the driver that directly caused the accident. An example is if you are minding your own business when suddenly a car rear ends you, and you end up rear-ending the car in front of you. In this case, you may be entitled to sue the car that rear-ended you. Furthermore, you may be liable if you could have somehow avoided being rear-ended.
However, now imagine that you are a driver who has witnessed the above accident from some distance away. However, out of carelessness, you end up rear-ending the car that had caused the multiple vehicle accident. In this case, you will not likely be considered as part of the collision chain, and you will not likely be able to sue the driver that directly caused the accident. This is because your collision may be considered as a separate collision rather than as part of the multiple vehicle collision. The driver who caused the original collision may not be considered at fault for additional collisions once the first collision has ended.
Our Austin Multi-Vehicle Accident Lawyers Can Help
No matter the size of your case, we believe that each client should work directly with their attorney and receive equal attention and care.
The Personal Injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group have extensive experience representing clients that have suffered in all types of car accidents, including multi-vehicle accidents. Our main goal is to help you to stay stress-free while we fight for your case and seek compensation on your behalf. You have absolutely nothing to lose by getting in touch with us for a consultation.
To get started with your claim, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our Austin multi-vehicle accident lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.