There are many compelling reasons why lawsuits happen quickly after a multi-car accident. But the most pressing issue is the horrific injuries drivers and passengers suffer.
Knowing what you should do after a multi-car accident is critical. Even seemingly minor problems like whiplash can have long-term complications. Chronic headaches, stiffness, and even lower back pain have connections to this type of injury. After assessing or experiencing injuries, you may turn to another pressing question.
Whose Insurance Pays After a Multi-Car Accident?
Regrettably, many of us have experienced an insurance company’s refusal to pay for injuries firsthand. If you or a loved one expect to have problems, this article will provide helpful advice. Also, you can connect with an attorney who can slice through the red tape and get straight to a settlement or civil trial.
Critical Factors for Multi-Car Accidents
Before diving into the details of whose insurance pays after a multi-car accident, we need to look at these critical factors. The nuances of what an adjuster examines will not matter as much without considering these facts first.
Fault-Based vs. No-Fault States
Car accident laws differ depending on whether the state has passed fault-based or no-fault legislation.
In fault-based states, the liable driver pays for damages or injuries. Victims can file a claim with their insurance company or file a lawsuit to recover damages.
On the other hand, no-fault states require drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. These policies cover medical expenses and other damages regardless of who is responsible for the accident. In theory, it reduces the number of lawsuits resulting from car accidents.
As a result, there are limitations to the types of damages recovered in no-fault states. But victims may still be able to sue for damages beyond what their PIP insurance covers.
Comparative negligence is a legal concept with significant implications in car accident lawsuits. It refers to the idea that more than one party can be at fault for an accident. The degree to which each party is at fault determines liability and damages. Essentially deciding whose insurance pays, or pays more after a multi-car accident.
There are two types of comparative negligence: pure and modified comparative negligence.
Pure comparative negligence assigns each party a percentage of fault. For instance, if a plaintiff is 20% responsible and the defendant is 80% to blame, the plaintiff can still recover 80% of the damages.
In modified comparative negligence, there is a threshold where the plaintiff does not recover damages. If the limit is 50%, and the plaintiff is 51% responsible, they cannot receive compensation.
How Insurance Companies Investigate Fault and Liability
While this section covers several possibilities, overwhelming evidence in only one could be a game changer. Regardless of where you live, these items will be central to decisions about claims.
Traffic violations can impact whether companies pay for damages, especially in a fault-based state. For example, if the courts find you guilty of speeding, you may have to pay for damages yourself. These costs will mount quickly for items like medical bills or vehicle repairs.
An insurance company will typically use the harm done to a vehicle to verify claims. A few considerations can impact their decision-making, including the following factors:
- Severity: Extensive damage may show that the accident was more severe than previously understood.
- Repair Costs: Expensive repairs increase the costs for the claim. Therefore, adjusters have every reason to pay strict attention to them.
- Type of Damage: This information can provide clues about how the accident occurred.
- Pre-Existing Damage: The insurance company can deduct existing problems from the claim.
- Age of the Vehicle: Older vehicles may have lower values and become written off as a total loss.
The adjuster for your case will calculate payouts based on learning about these facts. If the damage is severe or the cost of repairs is high, the insurance company may declare the vehicle a total loss and offer a settlement.
Photo or Video
Photographs or videos are a cornerstone of how insurers investigate multi-car accidents.
Imagine a video or photo showing that one of the drivers ran a red light. This proof can make it easier for the insurance company to make decisions.
The insurance carrier may dispute claims without photographic or video evidence. Contrarily, this documentation can demonstrate the severity of any injuries.
A witness statement for an auto accident is a written or recorded account of what a witness observed. Typically, the police officer who responds to the accident takes care of this task. Here are some of the things they will document:
- Characterization of the accident
- Description of the vehicles
- Injuries to individuals and damages to the automobiles
- Date, time, and location
- Identification of the drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved
Driver history can be pivotal in deciding whose insurance pays after a multi-car accident. Insurance companies scrutinize this detail when establishing fault and determining the damages.
A driver with a poor record may become the target of blame because they are more likely to cause an accident. Moreover, driver history can also impact the insurance rates and coverage available to drivers. The worst-case scenario is when someone without insurance plays a central role in the collision.
The Importance of Police Reports in Multi-Car Accidents
A police report offers a presumably objective view of a multi-car accident. Accordingly, insurance companies will typically rely on them to find fault. They are very important documents when determining whose insurance pays after a multi-car accident. They also usually include the details described in detail in the section above.
Consequently, police reports also offer corroborating evidence. For instance, assume that a driver claims they had a green light. Then, when they proceeded into the intersection, they got t-boned by vehicles that ran a red light. The investigating officer could indicate that the traffic light functioned as expected that day. This testimony can support a claim and help establish fault.
Consult With a Local Car Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, the complexities of a multi-car accident can benefit insurance companies. They can use confusion over who carries the most blame to hold or refuse payments. It may seem impossible to find out whose insurance pays after a multi-car accident. This situation is not tenable for someone who suffered severe injuries or a total loss of their vehicle.
Do not leave the final result to your gut instinct or luck. These matters often call for an experienced hand to craft a workable solution.