Multi-vehicle car accidents are common in a busy city like Denver and present unique challenges to injured people who are trying to seek compensation from an insurance company.
While disagreements about fault happen in every type of accident, they can be more complex in multi-car crashes, where there could be multiple at-fault parties. To make matters worse, different drivers involved in the crash might have a different perspective on what happened and who is responsible.
Unfortunately, you need the insurance company to pay your medical bills, lost income, car damage, and the other losses you’ve endured. How can you get help with your multi-vehicle car accident?
Speak With a Denver Multi-Vehicle Car Accident Attorney Today
A knowledgeable multi-vehicle car accident attorney knows how to seek out additional evidence in your case and work to determine which party or parties were responsible. We’ll investigate the accident and build a strong case to prove who was at fault and show that you had few or no contributions to the crash.
Olson Law Firm provides free consultations for anyone injured in a multi-vehicle or other type of car collision. Please contact us to learn how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
There is no obligation, and if we take your case, we won’t charge you anything until we win or settle it.
What Causes Multi-Vehicle Car Accidents?
Most cases begin with one vehicle striking another. Often, the second car is pushed into a third car by the impact, and the third may be pushed into a fourth, etc.
Usually, the accident begins with a rear-end collision, followed by multiple other rear-end collisions, but occasionally, front or side collisions are involved. This is sometimes called a “chain reaction” accident, which commonly occurs in rush-hour traffic or any time cars are close to each other.
However, accidents at high speeds are also more likely to involve multiple vehicles, as a car may travel farther after being hit before coming to a stop. As a result, multi-car crashes are frequently seen on interstates where the speed limit is higher.
Another type of multi-car accident involves one vehicle that strikes two or more other vehicles.
You might have seen a viral video of this type of crash. Typically, the first vehicle is speeding or out of control for some reason, and it hits one car, bounces off, and smashes into another.
This is somewhat less common than the “chain reaction” accident, but it can still cause severe injuries.
Who Is at Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Car Accident?
First, it’s essential to understand that more than one person can be at fault in any car accident. Colorado uses modified comparative negligence statutes to address situations where multiple parties made mistakes that contributed to an accident or injury.
An injured party who is less than 50 percent at fault can seek compensation from a party who is more than 50 percent at fault. However, any amount of fault attributed to the injured person is deducted from their final award.
In chain reaction events, the driver who initiated the first collision is usually considered at fault. But when faced with multiple claims, their insurance carrier may look for any reason to say there was comparative negligence by one or more other drivers.
As a result, you might have to contend with the insurance company blaming you, at least in part, for the accident. Worse, the insurance company could offer less than your claim is worth based on their assessment of your culpability.
If two other drivers both contributed to the accident, but you had no or very little responsibility, you can seek to recover damages from both parties.
Each party can only be held responsible for their own share of fault under Colorado law. If one is uninsured or unable to pay your damages, you may need to seek compensation from your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if you have this optional policy.
In crashes where one vehicle hits multiple others, the driver who makes multiple contacts is also usually at fault. These cases frequently involve highly reckless driving, such as speeding excessively, driving under the influence, etc.
Despite the driver’s errors, their insurance carrier may still try to lower your payout by arguing comparative negligence.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help by investigating your accident, sorting out who did what, collecting evidence, and establishing a strategy to prove that you had no fault in the crash. If you did have some culpability, we’ll work to ensure that the insurance adjuster doesn’t inflate your percentage of responsibility.
Why Is It So Difficult to Prove Fault in Multi-Vehicle Accidents?
There are often a lot of witnesses in these accidents, including drivers, passengers, and sometimes bystanders. But they all have different perspectives and sometimes different accounts of what happened.
Additionally, accidents happen quickly, and some people involved may be distracted by the first collision when the second, third, or fourth happens. While most people will tell the responding police officers the truth to the best of their ability, they may be mistaken about or unaware of some details.
The police officers will also observe evidence at the scene, but multiple vehicles can cause confusion. If there are multiple cars with damaged headlights, for example, it may not be immediately evident where the broken glass originated.
Debris from the crash might also be scattered over a wider area when multiple vehicles are involved, and some evidence could be missed.
What Does the Police Report Say About the Accident?
The police report contains information on the drivers and vehicles involved and a section where officers explain what they believe happened in the accident. Often, they will identify the driver who initiated the first impact as being at fault.
However, this won’t prevent an insurance company from claiming comparative negligence. Additionally, in some situations, the conflicting accounts from drivers and witnesses and the lack of clear evidence at the scene may also result in an inconclusive police report.
Either way, the police report is an essential piece of evidence and a good starting point, but there may be more to the story. A police report can be challenged if we find additional evidence.
What Kinds of Evidence Can Be Used to Prove Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Crash?
The sooner you contact an attorney after the collision, the better our chances of finding more evidence. Our investigators will immediately go to work seeking out more information, including the following:
- Photos. We encourage you to take pictures after the crash (unless your injuries prevent you from doing so). Try to get images of the damage to your vehicle from all angles, the other vehicles, the road (especially any debris in the road), and the surrounding area. However, we’ll also talk to people who live and work in the area to determine if they took any pictures from a different angle.
- Video. These days, doorbell cameras and dashcams are ubiquitous, and you may have seen online accident videos from these devices. But in some cases, the camera’s owner may not know they’ve captured an accident, and often, video files are deleted regularly to make space. For this reason, we can sometimes obtain a video of the crash if we start working on your case shortly after the accident.
- Witness testimony. In some cases, we can locate additional witnesses who saw the accident but had already left when the police arrived.
- Event data recorders or EDRs. Most vehicles made in the US in the past decade contain EDRs, which record various data points from just before and during an incident like a collision. With data from all the vehicles involved, we’ll have a better idea of how the chain of events occurred.
- Phone records. If we suspect one of the drivers was distracted by their phone before the collision, we can request copies of their phone records to learn more.
After we’ve studied all the available evidence, we’ll develop a strategy to win or settle your case. At the same time, we’ll determine the approximate value of your claim based on your damages.
If the insurance company makes a lowball offer that doesn’t begin to cover all your losses (which is not unusual), we’ll fight for a more reasonable settlement amount. In most multi-vehicle accidents, we can resolve the claim to the client’s satisfaction out of court.
If this doesn’t pan out, we are always prepared to go to trial if necessary.
Where Can You Get Help From a Denver Multi-Vehicle Car Accident Law Firm?
Multi-vehicle car accidents can be complicated, and you need help from an experienced car accident lawyer to settle your case. Please contact Olson Law Firm for a free consultation about your accident.
We’ll review the evidence, investigate further if needed, and explain your options for recovering damages.
Attorney Sean Olson founded Olson Law Firm in 2012 and has advocated for injured people and their families ever since. He believes in building others up and always makes himself available to clients.
A member of the Wyoming and Colorado Bar Associations, Mr. Olson was also a Super Lawyers Rising Star five years in a row. You can work with his expert team when you call (720) 730-4325.