Challenges in Multi-Car Accident Claims
Anyone who has been injured in a car accident and attempted to get compensation for their medical bills and pain and suffering can tell you that it can be a long and difficult process. This is true for fairly clear-cut accidents involving two vehicles but it’s even more true in multi-car accidents.
Challenges in multi-car accident claims
There are a few common challenges that come up in multi-car accident claims:
- Determining fault
Some accidents such as rear-end crashes, can be fairly straightforward to determine fault. In multi-vehicle crashes where multiple cars crash into each other, it is often very difficult to determine who was at fault or assign a percentage of fault accurately. Insurance companies know this and will try to get out of paying a settlement or reduce their settlement offer by arguing that you share blame for the accident.
- Not enough insurance coverage for everyone’s damages
In a multi-vehicle accident, there’s a decent chance that even a well-insured driver’s policy will not cover damages for everyone they injured. This is because auto insurance policies come with liability coverage limits, depending on the limits the insured chose when they opened their policy. A liability coverage limit is the maximum amount the at-fault insurer will pay for bodily injuries and property damage caused by their customer.
Usually, there is a limit on the bodily injury payout per person injured in an accident as well as a maximum payout per accident. In Washington State, drivers must carry minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $10,000 for property damage. If a person with minimum liability coverage in Washington State hits you, you will not be able to recover more than $25,000 in damages from their insurance policy. You would be eligible to receive even less if you were one of three people hit by the at-fault driver because the accident maximum ($50,000) would be divided up among the injured parties.
- Fighting for your share of the accident maximum
When there are multiple people injured by one driver and the coverage isn’t enough for a reasonable settlement for each party, the at-fault insurance agency won’t decide how to divide the available funds fairly. In most states, the insurance company will file a type of lawsuit called an “interpleader action” to force the injured parties to fight for their share in court. In this situation, you will need a personal injury attorney who can convince the court that your medical expenses were reasonable and necessary and that you deserve a larger portion of the insurance money than the other injured parties.
Do I need a car accident attorney for a multi-car accident?
It is highly advisable to hire a car accident attorney for any accident where it is difficult to determine fault or there may not be enough liability coverage to pay for all your damages. Since these are common issues in multi-vehicle car accidents, you will want a car accident lawyer on your side to fight for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!