Who is At Fault in a Pileup?November 8, 2021
Car accidents involving multiple drivers and vehicles are called pileups. They happen more frequently on highways and the interstate, where motorists are traveling at higher speeds. Many times drivers don’t have enough time to maneuver around accidents ahead of them, and what started as a two-car crash can quickly involve dozens of cars.
High speeds and more cars involved can result in more serious injuries to crash victims. But it can be hard to determine who’s at fault for the accident and responsible for compensating the injured.
If you’ve been involved in a multi-car pileup in Louisiana, consider hiring an attorney. The lawyers at Dudley DeBosier have years of experience handling cases like yours. Our Louisiana car crash attorneys can help you determine who is at fault for your accident and make sure you receive compensation for your injuries.
Pileups are More Dangerous
Higher speeds and getting hit by multiple vehicles potentially from multiple directions raises your risk of serious injury and death in an interstate pileup. Over 32% of fatal crashes in Louisiana occurred on highways or interstates in 2019.
More serious injuries mean extended hospital stays, more expensive treatment, and longer recoveries. Additionally, your vehicle may be totaled or severely damaged, requiring extensive and costly repair work, or you may need to buy a replacement vehicle.
Hefty medical expenses and damages from a multi-vehicle accident require you to seek compensation from the person at fault. This becomes more difficult in a pileup because it’s harder to determine which party is responsible for your injuries. Insurance companies may wait to make payments until a full investigation is completed.
Establishing Fault in a Pileup
Accidents with multiple vehicles involved take longer to determine liability. Louisiana is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused the crash is responsible for paying for the victims’ damages. Often, this means their insurance company pays for medical expenses and other financial losses due to the accident.
In multi-vehicle accidents, insurance companies may find more than one driver is at fault and hold each responsible for their fault in the accident. You can even be found partially negligent for your own injuries or other people’s if your failure to follow traffic laws contributed to your crash.
For example, the driver responsible for the initial collision is usually liable for everyone’s injuries in a pileup, but other drivers may be partially at fault for following too closely or speeding.
An experienced lawyer can help build the case—through investigation, reconstructing accident scenes, and compiling evidence—that you were not responsible for your crash, or help reduce the percentage of fault assigned to you if you were found to be partially responsible.
Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence
Some states use contributory negligence rules, where you can’t seek compensation if you’re partially at fault for the accident. Louisiana uses comparative negligence laws, allowing you to receive compensation from other drivers based on the percentage of who was at fault.
This means in a two-car crash if you’re found to be 30% at fault, and the other driver is 70% at fault, you are allowed to seek compensation for 70% of the cost of your damages from the other party’s insurance.
Pileups with more than two cars may have numerous drivers at fault. It may be harder to determine the percentage each driver is at fault for, and investigators could have conflicting claims. This is where having a lawyer on your side can come in handy.
Seeking compensation is more complex in pileups because investigators have to determine which vehicles were directly involved in causing your specific damages, as you may need to seek compensation from multiple different people. They also need to know if any negligence on your part contributed to your injuries and other crashes in the pileup, since it will reduce the amount you can win, if so.
Importance of Hiring an Attorney
Pileups involve more vehicles and more serious injuries. There are higher costs and more damages that insurance companies are responsible for paying. To reduce their payouts, many insurance companies send their own investigators to the accident scene.
The insurance company’s investigators will study every detail and look for ways to reduce their policyholder’s fault because it reduces their own financial liability.
A car accident lawyer can help you fight other insurance companies and preserve the evidence you need so you’re compensated fairly. Your auto attorney can help you determine the percentage you’re at fault for and can advise you on who you should be seeking compensation from.
They can represent you during court proceedings and settlement agreements to ensure you’re treated fairly and properly compensated for the damages that resulted from the pileup.
We’ll Help You Seek Compensation in Louisiana
Insurance companies will hesitate to compensate victims before the investigation is complete. They may refuse to pay you if liability can’t be established. An attorney can determine if your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence and can find evidence to support your case.
If you’ve been involved in a multi-car pileup in Louisiana, consider hiring an attorney from Dudley DeBosier. Our team of lawyers is experienced at litigating complex vehicle accidents and getting our clients the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.