Chain Reaction/Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Any motor vehicle collision holds the potential for serious injury or even death, but chain reaction and multi-vehicle accidents can be especially dangerous. These pileups can also result in more complex litigation than crashes involving one or two cars. The Pembroke Pines car accident attorneys at Cohn & Smith have many years of experience handling these types of cases, and we are ready to help you navigate the legal nuances that may be involved.
Typically, a chain reaction crash happens when three, four, or even more vehicles strike one another in a series of rear-impact collisions. Once all of the collisions have occurred, there may be a dispute among the parties as to the order and cause of each impact. Several insurance companies may be involved in addition to the various plaintiffs and defendants.
Bringing a Negligence Claim after a Chain Reaction or Multi-Vehicle Accident
In order to be successful in a car crash case, the person seeking to recover damages must show four elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant breached the duty;
- There was a causal link between the breach and the crash; and
- Damages that are reasonably quantifiable resulted from the crash.
Put another way, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant failed to exercise the degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances, and as a result the plaintiff was harmed in some manner.
Damages may refer to several types of losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, or emotional distress. In addition, an injured person’s spouse may be able to assert a claim for loss of consortium.
Under Florida’s pure comparative fault doctrine, a defendant in a negligence lawsuit may seek a reduction in the amount of damages owed if he or she can prove that the plaintiff (or someone else) was also at fault in the accident. If this argument is successful, the plaintiff’s damages award is reduced in proportion to his or her level of fault, but it cannot be eliminated unless the plaintiff was completely at fault.
This situation is particularly likely to develop in chain reaction crashes, since so many parties are involved. A prompt investigation is often necessary, and consultations with eyewitnesses and experts are often advisable. There are time limits known as statutes of limitations in all negligence cases, including multi-vehicle collisions, and cases not filed in a timely fashion usually will be dismissed.
Protect Your Rights by Consulting a Pembroke Pines Attorney
If you or a family member has been involved in a chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident, you should speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. The insurance companies of everyone involved likely have had a team of professionals working on the case from the moment they received notice of the wreck. At Cohn & Smith, our motor vehicle collision lawyers assist victims in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding cities. Call us at 954-431-8100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We also represent residents of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Aventura, North Dade County, and other areas of South Florida. Most cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, so no legal fees are required up front.