Liability In Multiple Vehicle Accidents

Car wrecks always create issues for the people involved, but as more parties are involved in the accident, the difficulties that will be encountered in determining who is liable for the damages will grow exponentially. In a collision between two vehicles, law enforcement and insurance companies can determine the cause of the accident fairly easily, but in much larger chain reaction accidents, such as the one that occurred on Valentine’s Day just outside of Greensburg, things will not be so simple.

The Valentine’s Day Crash

A vehicle traveling on Interstate 74 went out of control at the westbound 132 mile post at around 3:30 PM, likely due to the accumulation of about 2 inches of snow on the roadway over the course of the day. The vehicles traveling behind the car, some of them moving at speeds inappropriate for the road condition, were unable to stop, and somewhere between 20 and 30 cars eventually would be involved in the original collision or subsequent wrecks. By the time that authorities were able to get Interstate 74 safely shut down to traffic, it required five ambulances and law enforcement officers from the Decatur County Sheriff’s’ Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and the Shelbyville Police department, several different local tow truck companies, and a crew from INDOT to clear the scene over the course of several hours. Thankfully, while a number of motorists were injured in the collision, no fatalities were reported.

Situations like the one on Interstate 74 happen with more frequency than anyone would like, and it should be obvious that if you are involved in a chain reaction vehicle collision like this it will be important to retain an attorney as soon as possible to represent your best interests in resolving the matter.

So Who Is at Fault?

Indiana Code Title 9, Article 21 sets out the laws pertaining to liability on the roadways, stating that our state uses what is called the 51 percent rule of modified comparative negligence. What this actually means is that if you are involved in a collision, and it is determined that you were 50 percent or less at fault for the accident you (or your insurance company if they have already compensated you for your damages) have the right to seek recovery for the damages you have suffered. Any damage award by a jury is reduced by your percentage of fault up to 50%. So if the jury awards you $100,000 and says you are 20% at fault, the jury award would be $80,000. If the jury says you are 51% at fault or higher, you receive nothing. Any possible percentage of fault is also used in the negotiation of your claim so this is why it is so important to have an attorney to get the full value for your personal injury.

How Does This Actually Work Out?

This is all well and good in theory, but what a driver who has been in a chain reaction collision really wants to know is how this works “on the ground,” and the answer to that question is why you need the effective and aggressive representation of Rowe & Hamilton, Attorneys at Law. In a multi-vehicle collision, especially ones involving numerous other cars, insurance companies for at-fault drivers have an enormous amount of liability exposure. Because of this, they will make every effort to shift as much of the liability for the accident on to other parties to reduce their payouts, and attempt to drag out the process of settling claims for as long as possible in the hopes of convincing damaged parties to take less than they are entitled to in compensation.

Contact Rowe & Hamilton, Attorneys at Law

In auto wrecks, especially ones that involve multiple vehicles, the case often hinges on which party has the best evidence, and to ensure that it will be you a person needs the most experienced legal team.  Contact the experienced auto accident team at Rowe & Hamilton, Attorneys at Law today to discuss your potential case and learn how we can help you get the restitution you deserve.


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