With so many cars on the road these days, chances are, if you get into a car accident, it’ll involve more than one other car. When we see stories on the news about highway collisions, they usually show multiple vehicle in the crash. Sometimes, someone hits you from behind and that causes you to crash into someone else. Sometimes in these cases you’ll need to sue more than one person to recover your damages.
Multi-vehicle accidents can be complicated when it comes to proving fault. Not only are you dealing with several cars, but you’ll also be dealing with multiple insurance companies. Everyone is going to be pointing the finger at someone else. Even you. Your Indianapolis, IN car accident lawyer is going to have to sift through all of the evidence to prove your case. And, even if they do this, you may have to share the insurance proceeds with the other victim.
The other problem is, you may not know who was really at fault for weeks or months. Some car accident lawsuits in Indiana drag on for months or even years. This is for a few main reasons, including:
- You’re not sure how bad your injuries are because you’re scheduled for multiple surgeries or long-term physical therapy
- You may be waiting to be approved for permanent disability and aren’t sure of your lost future earnings yet
- Your Indianapolis car accident lawyer may be waiting to hear back from experts regarding causation
All of these things can drag your case alone for quite some time. As long as you file suit before the statute of limitations expires, you’ll be okay. Since you have to do this in two (2) years in Indiana, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Your Indianapolis car accident lawyer will make sure you file in time.
Your Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer Will Be Able to Sue More Than One Person
In multi-vehicle accidents, there could be more than one person responsible for the crash. This is why your Indianapolis car accident attorney will name all possible defendants in your initial complaint. The court has certain rules about adding defendants later on. That’s why it’s important that you name them all upfront, as you won’t be able to sue more than one person if it’s too late.
If, for some reason, you decide later on that one of the defendants wasn’t at fault, you can always dismiss them from your case. The reverse isn’t true. If you wait a year and a half and discover you forgot to add someone as a defendant, you’re out of luck. The court isn’t going to let someone be blindsided by that. It’s your responsibility to name all possible defendants when you file your lawsuit.
There are some exceptions to this rule:
- If you can’t locate the defendant, or they’re avoiding service, you’ll be able to add them later on
- If someone was lying about their identity, you’ll be allowed to amend your complaint later
- If you had no reason to be aware of a particular defendant, you can attempt to add them to your complaint
Just keep in mind, once the statute of limitations has expired, you won’t be able to add any more defendants. There are almost no exceptions to this.
If There are Multiple Victims, the Insurance Proceeds Will Have to Be Shared
One important thing to keep in mind is that you may have to share the insurance proceeds with another victim. When you purchase auto insurance, you choose a certain limit of coverage. For example, the defendant’s policy may pay up to $500,000 in damages for one particular lawsuit.
if this is the case, then you and any other accident victims will have to share the $500,000. If there isn’t enough money to pay everyone’s damages, it will be paid on a pro-rated basis. Here’s an example:
- There is one other plaintiff who has sued the defendant for the same car accident you were involved in
- The defendant has $500,000 in coverage
- The other plaintiff has demanded $400,000 in damages
- You have demanded $600,000 in damages
Since there’s only enough to pay $500,000, nobody will get the total amount they demanded. The total claim is for $1 million. So, each plaintiff will get half of the amount they demanded. You’ll get $300,000 and the other plaintiff will get $200,000. The remaining damages will have to be paid by the defendant personally. Or, your Indianapolis car accident attorney will simply negotiate a settlement for the difference.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Indianapolis Right Away
If you’re involved in a multi-vehicle car accident, things can get complicated quickly. You may not even know where to start. Who was at fault? How many insurance companies do you need to pursue? Do you need to sue more than one person? Thankfully, our experienced attorneys can answer these questions and more. Contact us today to see how we can help your case.