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auto accident claims

Involvement of Multiple Vehicles Affects Auto Accident Claims

There are hundreds of accidents involving multiple vehicles in the United States each day. It only takes fractions of a second to cause major property damage and injury. There are a multitude of factors that may cause these accidents and affect liability.

Common Causes of Multiple Vehicle Car Accidents

While auto accidents can be caused by a wide variety of issues, weather and road conditions are frequently at the root of an accident that involves multiple vehicles. Speeding, failure to yield and aggressive driving are also causes of multi-vehicle wrecks. Impaired drivers certainly contribute to multiple vehicle auto accident statistics, as these drivers are a hazard to anyone sharing the road with them.

Processing Claims for Multi-Vehicle Accidents

When multiple vehicles are involved in an auto accident, the claim is handled differently than it is for a two-car collision. This makes the process slightly more difficult and certain steps must be followed to ensure claims are viable and properly finalized. Delays, non-payment and other hassles can be caused by improper filing or handling of claims for multiple vehicle auto accidents.

Determination of Fault in Multiple Vehicle Accidents

When several vehicles have been involved in an auto accident, extensive fact checking is needed for the claim to be developed. Close investigation is necessary for any auto accident, but particularly so in these cases. For multi-vehicle collisions, several legal representatives, insurance adjusters and other investigators will be working at the same time to determine what caused the accident and who holds liability. When three or more vehicles are involved in a rear-end collision, the final vehicle to collide may not be considered to carry any fault. Chain reaction collisions often require close examination to determine who is liable. Rules for these accidents vary from state to state and even among jurisdictions within individual states.

Property damage from the accident may be inspected by insurance adjusters, accident investigators and others. Witnesses will be questioned and support for accident re-creation is gathered. Responsibility may be determined after examining the vehicle types, damage acquired, injuries sustained and other supporting facts. The party at fault may be easily determined. But it is important to ensure that experienced investigators examined the accident fully.

When driving, every motorist has a responsibility to drive sensibly and carefully. When this duty of care is not properly performed, a negligence claim may be developed against that driver. If injuries result to another motorist, that motorist is legally able to pursue reimbursement for expenses from the driver found to be at fault.

For multiple vehicle accidents, it can become more difficult to clarify and establish negligence. There are many questions which must be answered, details to be discovered and complex situations to work out to determine liability.

Inspectors Contracted for Multiple Vehicle Accidents

Contracted agents may be used to inspect multi-car accidents by reviewing police reports, interviewing officers and pursuing other information that will help determine liability in the accident. This agent may determine that the accident was caused by the actions of a negligent driver. That driver may have acted using poor judgment that led to the damage to multiple vehicles. The driver can be held responsible for damages.

When acts of drinking or drug use are found by the case inspector to be the cause of accident injuries or damages, this information can be used to establish fault in a legal claim. Other acts of negligence include reckless driving, aggressive driving, speeding, following vehicles too closely or not observing traffic signs or signals. Weather, road conditions and other factors may have contributed to the wreck.

Contracted inspectors may analyze photos of the scene, review closed circuit video from area businesses, interview passengers and gain other information to help in their case.

When Contributory Negligence Occurs

Contributory negligence may play a role in claims involving multiple vehicles. Every state handles these claims in their own manner. Contributory negligence involves the contribution by the victim to their own injuries. For example, one driver may have caused an accident, but the injured victim’s speed or non-use of safety belts as required by law contributed to the magnitude of their injuries. When contributory negligence is applied, the percentage of damages awarded to the victim may have their own responsibility factored into the amount.

Compensation for Multiple Vehicle Accident Claims

State laws vary for multiple vehicle accident claims. Medical costs and vehicle repairs are covered by insurance. Filing of claims involves several important steps against multiple parties, with those filings varying according to insurance carrier. If fault is not determined in a multi-vehicle accident, a lawyer with car accident experience and his or her associated investigation team can help resolve the liability issue. There may be multiple parties at fault and such cases can become quite confusing. Personal injury lawyers often work with insurance providers to ensure proper handling of claims for correct disbursement of compensation.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Every day in the United States, an estimated 445 pedestrians seek emergency treatment for traffic-related injuries. In 2013, the most recent year data is available, there were 4,735 pedestrian fatalities and another 66,000 injuries. That’s about one pedestrian death every two hours, and one injury every eight minutes. If you are one of the tens of thousands of pedestrians injured every year as a result of a vehicle-related accident, there are critical steps you should take directly after the event that will help ensure your rights. But, avoiding an accident in the first place should be your focus. Here are some easy-to-follow tips on how to stay safe as a pedestrian.

Never Assume

Just because someone is driving a vehicle doesn’t mean he is paying close attention to the road. Distracted driving habits, including eating and cell phone use, lead to more than 3,300 fatalities a year, many of which involve pedestrians. Other factors, including vehicle blind spots and driver drowsiness, can also play a role in pedestrian-related accidents.

Instead of assuming that a driver can see you, make sure the road is clear before attempting to cross the street. If you’re in a particularly busy area, and waiting for traffic to clear isn’t plausible, make eye contact with any driver in your proximity before crossing the street, even when you have the right of way and are using a crosswalk.

Distracted Walking

Drivers are not the only people who can be distracted when they’re on the go. Pedestrians can be just as easily distracted. When you’re reading a text message, playing a game, or are otherwise engaged with your mobile device, you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings, and just as with a distracted driver, the results can be disastrous. When you are walking, put away your cell phone or tablet. If you must reply to a text, step to the side, out of the way of others, and then respond.

Follow the Law

Jaywalking is not only illegal, but it can be fatal. In fact, pedestrian noncompliance is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities. In 2013, 69% of all pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections compared to 20% of fatalities occurring in an intersection, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The balance of the fatalities occurred in parking lanes, driveways, roadsides, and other locations. When you need to cross the street, use the crosswalk, and never cross against the light.

Special Circumstances

The sidewalk is the safest place for pedestrians. Occasionally, however, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to walk somewhere, but no sidewalk is available. In that instance, walk as far onto the shoulder of the road as possible, and always walk facing traffic. If your back is to traffic, you won’t be able to see oncoming dangers, and you’ll be unable to avoid them.

If you’re walking at night, it is imperative that you wear light, bright, or reflective clothing, and carry a flashlight, even if you plan on staying on the sidewalk. At some point, you may have to cross the street, and if drivers cannot see you, they won’t be able to avoid you.

Pedestrian safety requires vigilance on the part of both the driver and the pedestrian. When you head out for a walk, always follow traffic laws, make sure drivers can see you, and pay attention to your surroundings. When you follow those simple tips, you’ll be increasing the odds that you will reach your destination safely.