I Was in an Accident With Multiple Vehicles, What Next?

The average car accident will typically involve two vehicles. In these situations, it’s easier for the parties involved to determine which driver was at fault. However,  in an accident involving three or more vehicles, the matter of fault can be more complicated.  The parties involved will have to perform a thorough investigation to determine fault and assign responsibility for damages.

Because fault is often unclear in a multi-vehicle accident on Long Island, it is crucial for those involved to follow the recommended steps after the accident. This includes obtaining the contact information from each party, including witnesses, and contacting a lawyer with experience handling multi-party accidents

What Should I Do After I Am in a Long Island Car Accident Involving Multiple Vehicles?

The steps you should take immediately after an accident are identical whether your accident involved two vehicles or several.  However, in accidents involving more than two vehicles, the determination of fault is substantially more complex.

Here are the steps that should be taken after your accident:

  1.  Call 911 to report the accident and request emergency medical services (EMS) for anyone hurt.
  2. When It is safe to do so, take photos of the scene before any vehicles are moved. Then, if possible, move the vehicles to a safe place away from the main roadway and wait for a police respondent.
  3. Exchange insurance and contact information with every driver involved. With their permission, you can take a photo of their driver’s license and insurance card. Take a photo of each license plate.
  4. If you are hurt, remain in a safe position and wait for EMS to arrive. 
  5. After being examined by and cleared by emergency services, take photos of the accident scene and any relevant landmarks, debris, etc. Remember to include pictures of your injuries immediately following the accident as well as any bruising or swelling that develops in the days that follow.You can also begin to gather witness statements and contact information.
  6. Speak to police when they arrive, and provide an accurate statement of the events leading up to the crash to the best of your memory. Do not speculate or attempt to assign blame. At the same time, know that you do not have to volunteer information that could imply fault or wrongdoing. 
  7. After the accident is reported, seek immediate medical care. If EMS recommends you take an ambulance, do not refuse. Whether or not you use the ambulance, go to the emergency room as soon as possible for a full evaluation. If you do not think you are seriously hurt, you should still seek a full medical evaluation at an urgent care clinic or primary care physician practice within 48 hours.
  8. Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney before notifying insurance of a possible claim. You will want to notify your insurance as well as the insurance company of any potentially liable drivers.
  9. Explore your options for pursuing the maximum amount of compensation from all liable parties in order to repay your medical costs, lost wages, and other losses.

Do Not Admit Fault After Your Multi-Vehicle Accident

You should never freely admit fault after an accident, especially after an accident involving three or more parties.

Accidents involving multiple parties can be complicated. It’s important for parties to reserve their judgement concerning fault until the accident has been thoroughly investigated in order to determine all aspects that contributed to the crash’s circumstances.

It may be possible that two or more parties share fault. For example, you may not be liable for a rear-end collision with your own vehicle but be found liable for then colliding into the vehicle in front of you. 

To determine fault, your attorney will investigate the accident, consider the evidence, and evaluate the matter using the relevant laws or prior case outcomes. Once fault is determined, you can make a strategy to pursue compensation from all liable parties.

Fault Can Be Split Among Parties in a Multiple Vehicle Accident

Know that, in the state of New York, each party that contributed fault to an accident is responsible for their corresponding proportion of damages. In other words, if two drivers caused the accident, they may split liability for damages 50/50. 

Individuals who contribute to their own injury circumstances are not barred from recovery, but their available award will be reduced by their percentage of fault. If the injured claimant contributed 10% to the accident, for example, they can only recover up to 90% of their damages. 

Who Pays for My Accident Costs?

The state of New York uses a no-fault insurance system to compensate all individuals involved in an accident, regardless of fault. The owner of a vehicle is expected to carry their own no-fault policy as well as a liability policy in the event that they cause an accident with excess damages.

No-fault collision insurance provides up to $50,000 for basic economic loss, including medical care for the driver of the insured vehicle. The vehicle owner’s policy will also provide coverage for passengers. No-fault insurance will cover 80% of income lost while the victim recovers from their injuries, up to $2,000 per month unless more coverage is purchased.

When serious injuries are involved, the treatment costs and lost wages can easily exceed the no-fault benefits that are available. In these cases, the injury victim can pursue the excess damages from all at-fault parties. To recover their damages, the injury victim will file a claim with the liability insurance provider for each at-fault party involved. The claimant must be prepared to provide proof of causation and an injury diagnosis as well as an accounting of their treatment costs, lost wages, and other damages.

A successful liability insurance claim covers the remaining damages unpaid by the no-fault policy, up to the liability policy’s limits. Injury victims with a “serious injury” can also seek additional compensation for their personal pain and suffering.

Do I Have to Sue Someone to Get Compensation After a Multiple Vehicle Accident?

Sometimes, yes. The preferred remedy is to seek compensation through the insurance system. But insurers don’t always want to settle. They may disagree that their policyholder is at fault, or they may try to argue that not all of the victim’s damages are covered.

In cases where a settlement can’t be reached, injury victims can explore further legal options with the help of a Long Island car accident lawyer. Together, they may decide to file a lawsuit or go to trial in order to recover the money they lost from the accident.

Reach Out to Experienced Long Island Car Accident Lawyers to Get to the Bottom of Your Multi-Vehicle Crash

Unfortunately, injured victims don’t always receive the compensation they deserve. Often they find the process too daunting to navigate alone. Similarly, they may also be turned away by the insurance system, which will try to avoid paying for damages in any way possible.

For these reasons, working with an experienced Long Island personal injury attorney is crucial. An experienced attorney will investigate your case and guide you through what can be a very intimidating process. Most importantly, they will advise you of your legal options so that you can make the decision that is best for you. Start the process of recovering from your multi-vehicle collision today when you reach out to TonaLaw. Schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case review now when you call 833-866-2529 (833-TONALAW) or contact us online.

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