Were you or a loved one severely injured in a multi-vehicle car accident in San Diego? Are you unsure of what to do next to get the fair compensation you’re owed? If so, contact the Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers, and our car accident attorneys help you get justice. You have a right to hold the other driver accountable for their actions and the harm they caused. You have suffered enough from another person’s carelessness. You can count on us to resolve your case efficiently and favorably so you can move forward with your life.
Since 2007, our San Diego multi-vehicle accident attorneys have provided clients with professional and affordable legal services. We know you’re facing a challenging road ahead, and we want to help you get through it. When you hire us, we will seek justice so the responsible parties face the consequences of their actions. To schedule your free consultation, call the Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers at (855) 330-2519 today.
Most Common Causes of Multi-Vehicle Car Accidents
A multi-vehicle crash is any accident that involves at least three vehicles. It is also known as a pile-up and can lead to devastating injuries. It occurs when there’s a chain reaction of cars colliding or when many vehicles crash into each other chaotically. It typically results from someone who isn’t paying attention or following traffic laws.
The most common causes of multi-vehicle accidents include:
- Failure to yield
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Distraction or inattention
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals
- Driving dangerously in adverse weather conditions
If you find yourself in a multi-vehicle car crash, it can feel like a traumatic experience. The sound of cars colliding and piling up around you is scary. The impact could trap you inside your car, exposing you to a potentially deadly scenario. If you can’t exit your vehicle and get to safety, you have to wait until subsequent collisions stop. Some people become pinned from the severe damage and require jaws of life for extraction. Others sustain life-threatening injuries.
Filing An Insurance Claim After A Multi-Car Accident
If you can determine which driver caused the accident, you could file a claim with their auto insurance company. Every driver in California must purchase liability coverage with a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage. Those limits can cover any expenses you incur as a result of the crash. According to the state’s fault system, the liable motorist is automatically responsible for the injured party’s losses.
When you file a liability claim, you can seek compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are expenses, while non-economic damages are intangible losses. They include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Lost income and lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Loss of consortium
Although economic damages, such as medical bills, are easy to quantify, non-economic damages are challenging. Something like physical pain and suffering isn’t easy to calculate because there are no receipts or billing statements for them. When an insurance adjuster reviews the facts of a case, they might use the contributing factors below to determine a fair number for the injured party’s non-economic damages:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Whether there’s permanent physical or emotional trauma from the accident
- The total value of economic damages
- Duration of the treatment period
- Amount of insurance coverage available
- Effect of the injury on daily life
- Ability to earn similar wages as before the crash
- Relevant evidence provided during the claims process
An insurance company could also use your level of fault when calculating how much compensation you deserve. Pure comparative negligence is a rule that determines the monetary damages for everyone involved. If you are partially liable for any injuries or property damage, you would receive a lower settlement than if you weren’t at fault at all.
For example, let’s say your total damages after the multi-vehicle accident amount to $100,000. If you were not at fault at all, you could recover the full amount. However, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault, your recovery would likely be reduced to $80,000.
Obstacles You Could Face After a Multi-Vehicle Accident
If you sustain injuries in a multi-car collision, you might have trouble determining who caused it or where to recover compensation. Sometimes, investigating an insurance claim can take months, while some take years to resolve. When there are three or more vehicles and various drivers and passengers, finding someone to blame can be difficult.
Below are the most common reasons injury claims could take some time to resolve:
- More than one at-fault party – There are multiple people liable for a car accident in some situations. The insurance company must thoroughly investigate every claim to ensure they hold the right people responsible. If one driver was texting and another was speeding, you might be entitled to a settlement from both of their liability insurance policies. Filing more than one claim is time-consuming and can delay receiving any compensation.
- At-fault driver’s statement – When someone causes an accident, they might not want to admit it. If they make a statement to the investigating officer at the scene, they could place blame on another person. Attorneys and insurance adjusters must consider everyone’s statement to determine fault accurately.
- Multiple injuries – If more than one person gets hurts in a multi-vehicle collision, all will likely require medical treatment. When there are numerous victims, liability insurance limits can run out quickly. Without adequate coverage, you might have to look for other sources of compensation.
- Uninsured drivers – You might discover that the liable driver does not have auto insurance. When that happens, you could file a lawsuit. However, lawsuits are complex and take time to prepare. If you choose to sue the at-fault motorist, it could take some time to recover what you’re owed.
How Civil Lawsuits Work in California
If you decide to file a lawsuit against another driver, you must follow a specific procedure and strict deadlines. Statutes of limitations set a timeframe for individuals to initiate a legal case against another person. If you want to file suit after your multi-vehicle accident, you must adhere to a two-year statute of limitations. That means you have two years from the crash date to sue. Otherwise, you’ll lose your right to sue.
A judge will rarely allow someone to file a lawsuit after the statute passes. However, there are two main exceptions in California:
- If the defendant leaves the state for a temporary period, the clock will pause and won’t start again until they return; their absence would not count toward the two-year deadline
- If the victim is legally incompetent or younger than 18 years of age at the time of the accident, the clock won’t begin until they become competent or turn 18
Many cases involving car crashes hinge on the legal theory of negligence. If another party’s actions were negligent, you could use that as the basis of your lawsuit. Negligence refers to someone who fails in their duty to prevent another from harm. There are five elements you must show existed to prove negligence:
- Duty – The defendant owed you a duty of care to act or not act in a certain way
- Breach of duty – They breached their duty
- Cause in fact – If it wasn’t for their actions or inaction, you wouldn’t have suffered harm
- Proximate cause – Your injuries were the direct result of their breach
- Damages – You incurred damages
Although you might be entitled to economic and non-economic damages in your lawsuit, there is a third type you could potentially pursue: punitive damages. This type of damages punishes the individual that caused someone’s injuries rather than compensating the victim’s losses. For a jury to award punitive damages, you must provide clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault driver acted with:
- Oppression – Wrongful conduct subjecting someone else to unjust and cruel hardship
- Malice – Intentionally causing injury or showing willful disregard for the safety and rights of another person
- Fraud – Intentionally concealing or misrepresenting material facts to cause harm to another person
Contact Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers to Schedule Your Free Consultation
Our San Diego multi-vehicle accident attorneys are available 24/7 to take your case. We believe in remaining accessible to our clients so they can reach us when they need us. You won’t feel like just another number in a long list of clients. We will treat you as a priority from the beginning to the end of your case.
Since opening our firm, we have recovered millions of dollars for accident victims. We understand the importance of resolving your case quickly so you can move forward with your life. Our team will work efficiently to build a strong case that gets the results you want.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to the negligent actions of another person, call Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers at (855) 330-2519 to schedule your free consultation with one of our dedicated San Diego injury lawyers.