Car accidents often create emotional and financial stress, injuries, and other issues for all, and navigating through the fallout of a collision can be messier than you may assume it could be. For example, if you have recently been involved in a three-way car accident, you may be feeling stressed about the possibility of being the at-fault party. After all, the at-fault party is required to take responsibility for all expenses incurred by the other parties.
Perhaps the insurance companies have already deemed you to be the at-fault driver, and you are trying to determine if this is a justified decision. The reality is that a three-way car accident can be a complicated situation. After all, one vehicle may not have hit the other two cars at the same time. Often, a three-car collision involves a chain reaction. For example, perhaps a two-car crash caused the other two-car collision. Does this mean that the driver who caused the original accident is responsible for the entire event? This is not necessarily the case. Many factors must be reviewed to accurately determine how the accident unfolded and what caused the collision.
You understandably do not want to be financially responsible for expenses that you did not cause. At the same time, you want to obtain fair compensation for your expenses from the driver who is responsible for the collision. We will happily provide you with a free legal consultation so that you can better determine your options. Before you contact us, however, you may prefer to gather a few more details about how this area of the law works. What should you know about liability related to a three-car collision?
Determining the Cause of the Collision
One of the reasons a three-car collision can be complex is that there may be more than one at-fault party. Perhaps two or even all three drivers contributed to the accident in some way. Consider, for example, if one driver pulled up too close to another car at a red light. A third car rear-ends the middle car, and this sends the middle car into the vehicle in the front of the line. While the events are being investigated by the vehicle at the rear, the middle vehicle contributed to the collision with the car in front of it because the driver did not leave a safe distance. A similar situation may occur if the first driver started moving and suddenly stopped. When two or three parties are at fault, the matter of partial liability must be explored. For example, how much of the accident is each party responsible for?
These are only a couple of the many scenarios that could lead to a three-way car accident. Auto insurance companies will review all of the facts related to the collision to determine the series of events that occurred. These facts may be pulled from the police report and statements from the drivers, passengers, and witnesses. What are some of the other factors that may impact how a car insurance company determines liability?
-A driver could be partially or fully liable for the collision if he or she were
-Driving in a drunk or impaired state
-Driving at an excessive speed
-Distracted by a cell phone or another item while driving
-Not maintaining a safe distance
-Not signaling before turning or changing lanes
-Not observing and obeying posted signs and traffic signals
A car insurance company’s details may pull from police reports, and statements can vary dramatically from one accident to another. In some cases, one small detail may influence the final decision about who is liable for the collision. With so many factors to consider, it is essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer after being involved in an accident. Your attorney will be able to tell you what your legal options are during a consultation.
What to Do If You Have Been Determined to Be At-Fault
The insurance companies may deem you to be the at-fault party liable for all related auto repairs, medical expenses, and more. As an alternative, you may be determined to be partially at fault. Both of these situations may have a detrimental impact on your personal finances, your auto insurance premium, your ability to obtain insurance coverage going forward, and even your driver’s driver’s license. If you believe that the at-fault determination has been made in error, you can appeal the decision.
However, unless you have proof supporting your position, you are simply going against the statements made by other parties. It can be difficult to overturn a decision in this way. In addition, even if you have proof that supports your case, there is always a possibility that you may make a statement that works against you. This may be because the law surrounding liability can be complex.
Keep in mind that you are not countering the decision of one insurance company. In addition to dealing with your own car insurance company, you are also dealing with the other drivers’ driver’s insurers. Challenging a decision related to at-fault liability can be exhausting, time-consuming, and often more challenging than many drivers initially anticipate. However, this does not mean that you should accept an at-fault determination if you believe that it is wrong.
How Insurance Companies May Try to Reduce or Reject Your Claim
Auto insurance companies can pay out tens of thousands of dollars or more when their insured driver is determined to be at fault, so they understandably want to find reasons to reduce their related expenses. Some insurance companies have a reputation for trying to minimize or reject claims through various tricky tactics. Anything that you say to an insurance company could potentially be used to make a case against your claim, and this includes whether you are speaking to your own insurance company or the other driver’s drivers insurances. Because of this, you should always be alert when you talk to an insurance company’s company’s representatives.
For example, insurance companies may sometimes contact you after a collision to inquire about your injuries, your vehicle’s vehicle’s condition, and the overall process. The representative may seem to be sympathetic, friendly, and easy to talk to, so it may be easy to let your guard down. However, the representative may be recording your words and may put you on record, saying something that may work against your claim. Keep in mind that even when you are alert to this possibility, you may still say something without knowing the harm that it could do to your claim.
What We Can Do for You
If you have been involved in a three-way car accident, it is crucial to stay on top of the insurance companies’ companies’ processes and findings. However, this does not mean that you should communicate with the insurance companies yourself. Many of our clients wait to consult with a legal team until they have been deemed to be at fault, but this may not be the most advisable strategy. Consider that even your initial phone call with an insurance company and the adjuster’s adjuster’s conversation with you when he or she assesses the damage to your vehicle may be used to build a case against your claim.
Rather than unintentionally risk divulging information that could work against your case, it is advisable to refer all communications with insurance companies to your attorney. We understand the stress that our clients feel after being involved in a three-way car accident, and we will do our part to help you move beyond this situation on solid footing. We can accomplish this by seeking financial recovery on your behalf from the at-fault party and his or her insurance company. This will be based on the compensation that you may be legally entitled to.
Our Other Services for Auto Accident Victims
We provide our clients with full representation throughout all aspects of their case. This often begins with a case evaluation and a consultation. Next, we will gather the facts about your case to determine what evidence we need to collect and the proper next steps to take. Then, depending on the circumstances, we may organize a defense for you. In other cases, we may determine the total amount of damages that should be recovered and ensure that you receive fair compensation. This may include both monetary damages and non-monetary damages. To accomplish these goals, we may need to speak with the other drivers and their insurance companies, prove how the collision impacted your life, and more.
Request an Evaluation and Consultation Today
You can see that a three-way car accident has numerous moving parts. The case may not be as clear-cut as the insurance companies may make it out to be initially. More than that, matters related to partial liability, defense strategies, maximizing financial recovery, and more can all impact your life in important ways in the future. If you have been involved in a three-way auto collision, now is the ideal time to schedule a consultation and evaluation with a member of our legal team.