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If you have been involved in a motor vehicle pileup accident, you may be wondering who is at fault. Who is at fault in a pileup accident depends on the details of what led to the crash. A motor vehicle pileup accident is a chain reaction between more than a single car or two cars.
These types of accidents can be complex and involve multiple parties. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle pileup accident in Denver, you may be entitled to compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call our pileup accident lawyers in Denver at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation.
Who is at Fault in a Pileup Accident?
There are many factors that could lead to a pileup accident. A pileup car accident involves multiple vehicles and drivers. These kinds of accidents most likely happen on highways due to the fast speed of vehicles and the multiple cars on the highway. Other factors such as weather conditions, road conditions, or following too closely to the car in front of you are more likely to lead to a pileup.
Colorado Rules on Fault
Colorado follows a modified comparative fault rule. This means that you must be 50% or less at fault to recover any damages. Insurance agencies are responsible for assigning fault after analyzing a crash. Each driver will have to be assigned a percentage of fault. If the insurance companies cannot agree on a percentage of fault, the case might be taken to court.
What Causes a Pileup Car Crash?
There is often one driver who begins the crash that leads to a pileup car crash. This chain reaction can occur if the first driver hits a second driver, who then hits a third driver. In situations like these, the first driver is likely most at fault. However, the second driver may be partially at fault too.
In the example above, consider if the second driver swerved after the impact, which caused the second vehicle to run into a third. Alternatively, if the second driver was following too closely to the third driver when the car was hit, they may also be partially responsible. There are many details involved in a pileup car crash, which is why it is important to contact a pileup car crash attorney in Denver as soon as possible following a crash.
Other factors, such as weather, driving under the influence, distracted driving, or reckless driving could cause a pileup car crash.
Cold winter temperatures can lead to the formation of black ice. Black ice is almost impossible to see and could cause your car to slide. Sliding on ice is difficult to control and may cause you to hit another car or multiple cars. This could also cause a domino effect of sliding cars who may then each hit another vehicle.
Rain can also affect traction on vehicles. It is important not to follow too closely in rainy weather, especially in the first few minutes after it begins raining, as this is when the road is the slickest. Rain can also affect visibility.
Foggy conditions can also reduce visibility. When in fog, turn down your headlights rather than turning on your high beams. The light will reflect off the fog and make it harder to see. If you have fog lights, use those instead of your low beams.
Driving Under the Influence
In Colorado, there are three types of impaired driving. Each can lead to serious car accidents and multi-vehicle pileups.
- DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two
- DWAI is driving a vehicle while “ability impaired,” which could be caused by drugs or alcohol
- DUI per se is operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher
A person is considered to be under the influence if there is a substantial impairment in one’s ability to operate a vehicle. A BAC of .08% or more implies that the person was under the influence of alcohol. “Ability impaired” means that the person is only slightly impaired with a BAC of more than .05%, but less than .08%.
In Colorado, adult drivers are permitted to use a cell phone while driving to take voice calls. Text messaging while driving, however, is prohibited. Any use of a cell phone while driving can create a distraction. Distracted drivers are more likely to cause an accident because they are not paying attention to the road.
Sending or even just reading a text takes can take your eyes off the road for as little as five seconds. If you are going 55 mph, five seconds is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Having your eyes off the road for even a few seconds is more likely to cause a pileup car accident.
Distracted driving can also be driving while tired. Falling asleep at the wheel can cause pileup accidents because of the failure to stop and avoid a collision. Distracted driving can also be eating while driving or anything that takes the focus away from the road.
Reckless driving can cause a pileup car accident because of the dangerous driving decisions a driver makes. These can include speeding, tailgating, and road rage. Reckless driving on the highway or city streets and intersections makes it more likely that a pileup car accident will occur.
What Should I Do in a Pileup Car Crash?
A pileup car crash can be serious. Knowing what to do in the event of one will help you stay calm. Consider the following steps.
Call for help by dialing 911. A pileup car crash can be devastating and there are multiple parties involved. Dialing 911 will dispatch the police along with any medical assistance.
Move to Safety
If possible, move your car to the shoulder to get out of the way of traffic. This can help avoid another collision if you are on the highway or visibility conditions make stopping on the road dangerous.
Turn on Your Hazard Lights
Increase visibility of your vehicle as much as possible by turning on your hazard lights. If you have flares or orange cones, put those out as well. Increasing visibility will help other cars stop or slow down and prevent another accident. This is especially important if you cannot move your car off the road.
Collect Information from Other Drivers
In a multi-vehicle pileup, there will be several parties involved that you would need to collect information from. Try to gather their contact information such as phone numbers and names. Get the license plate numbers of everyone involved. If there are witnesses, consider asking them for their information or ask if they would be willing to give the police a statement.
Document the Scene
Take pictures of the damage to each vehicle. Take pictures of the road conditions that may reveal why the accident happened. This will also document the weather conditions if that contributed to the accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
Always see a doctor after a car accident, even if you do not think you are injured. A full physical after a car accident will help uncover hidden injuries. If injuries arise later or get worse, there will already be a record on file with your doctor, which may help in a lawsuit later.
Call Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company to report the accident. Do not speak with any other driver’s insurance company. Be sure not to admit fault to your insurance company as they may use this against you and try to reduce your settlement amount. Do not accept a settlement agreement if they offer one without first speaking to a lawyer.
Call a Pileup Car Accident Lawyer in Denver
Consider contacting a lawyer that is experienced in pileup car accidents as soon as possible. A lawyer will be able to speak to your insurance agency on your behalf and can help you negotiate a better settlement.
A lawyer has your best interests in mind. The other drivers and their respective insurance companies will be looking to diminish fault and do not have your best interests in mind. A lawyer may be able to help you organize your evidence after a car crash, which may become complicated in a motor vehicle pileup.
Get Help from Denver Car Crash Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our pileup car crash attorneys in Denver are experienced and have handled many cases involving pileup car crashes. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
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