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Multiple Car Accident in Phoenix

Multi Car Accident Pile Up Phoenix

Involved in a multiple car accident in Phoenix – Who is at fault and am I covered?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that there is a car accident every 60 seconds in the U.S. That is equivalent to six million auto accidents per year. About one third of these are multiple car accidents, or “pileups“. Multi-vehicle accidents are surprisingly easy to cause, with only one inattentive or negligent driver able to cause a catastrophic chain reaction of all of the vehicles behind him or her crashing into each other.

Multi-vehicle car accidents are some of the most deadly. This is because there may be several impacts for each car, with each impact being from different directions or angles. With each impact come separate and compounded injuries and property damage. People in these accidents are often pinned in their vehicles and even burned to death due to resulting fires. Many passengers and drivers fall into shock, then get out of their cars and venture into oncoming traffic or other vehicles colliding on the scene.

Anyone that has lived in Phoenix through a monsoon season, knows about the major dust storms that can often times create zero visibility while driving. When this happens, the chances of a multiple vehicle pileup significantly increases.

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Common Causes of Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Multiple factors cause multi-vehicle accidents. Human negligence is the most frequent cause but other factors may be weather, animals in the roadway or other unpreventable causes. Some of the most frequent reasons multi-car accidents occur include:

  • Weather – Low visibility due to fog or precipitation is a frequent cause of pile-up accidents. Slippery roads, smog and other conditions can be hazardous, as well. In some states, gusting winds can knock vehicles off course and cause drivers to lose control.
  • Excessive Speed – Speeding is a cause of many types of wrecks. Drivers today have a false sense of security when it comes to driving vehicles with so many safety features that modern cars provide. High speed exaggerates the outcome of minor mistakes, such as a wrong turn of the wheel, encroachment upon a slower vehicle, inadequate space between cars for braking and other unexpected problems.
  • Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel – Even a mere second of dozing at the wheel can cause multi-lane drifting, careening off the roadway, side swiping a car, or overtaking a car in front.
  • Driving While Intoxicated – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol continues to be a problem, despite over thirty years of public campaigns to end the practice by negligent drivers. Being under the influence impairs judgment, causes poor decisions, affects ability, alters perception of time and depth, creates aggression and can cause drowsiness.
  • Cell Phone Use and Texting While Driving – Cell phone and smartphone use in general is a widespread problem causing many multi-vehicle accidents today. Drivers who use their devices while behind the wheel for talking, texting, taking photos, checking email, routing maps or surfing the web cause deadly accidents.
  • Police Chases – High-speed chases of law enforcement officers pursuing criminals cause collisions. These chases are highly unpredictable and even alert drivers can be quickly overcome by a maverick criminal on the run. Vehicles fleeing officers often lose control of their cars, hit other vehicles, and venture into oncoming traffic when attempting to avert law enforcement.
  • Distracted DrivingAccidents from distracted driving includes smartphone and other device use, but also includes excessively loud entertainment systems, conversations with other people in the car, map reading, eating, applying makeup, boredom, inattention and even activities like shaving or reading while driving.

Determining Fault in Multi-Vehicle Accidents

When multi-vehicle car accidents occur, someone is almost always negligent in causing the wreck. These types of accidents result in very high insurance payouts and legal claims because of their nature, destruction and multi-vehicle involvement.

Investigators hired by insurance companies are typically assigned to investigate claims associated with multiple vehicle accidents. These investigators work hard to determine the accident’s root cause and who the responsible driver is, among those involved. This is a complex process because not adhering to the duty of care every driver holds as a responsibility behind the wheel is often due to negligence.

To find who is negligent in an accident, the investigators will:

  • Review police reports
  • Speak with other investigators or officers
  • Find out if any of these issues applied to involved drivers:
    • Outstanding warrants
    • Determination of intoxication by drugs or alcohol
    • Open containers in the vehicle
    • Narcotics in possession
    • Suspended license or non-licensure
    • Determination of speeding at the accident time
    • Uninsured vehicle operation
    • Witness statements of aggressive or reckless driving
    • Cell phone use during accident occurrence
    • Other issues
  • Interview drivers, passengers and witnesses
  • Take photographs of the scene, associated vehicles and property damage
  • Review involved drivers’ records for history of unsafe vehicle operations, citations or accidents

Role of Negligence in Multi-Car Accidents

One driver’s negligence may be identified as the cause of the accident and injuries. This means that the injured parties have legal right to compensation for their injuries and damages from that negligent driver. But in a multiple car accident, multiple parties in multiple vehicles may each hold liability as negligent in causing the injuries and damages of others. You may even be responsible for the injuries of people in vehicles you collided with, if your actions or behaviors were seen as negligent and contributory. Such contribution to the outcome of the multi-vehicle accident may affect the amount of compensation you receive for your own injuries and damages.

There are multi-car accidents in which authorities confirm no party was negligent. Although this is rare, such mitigating or eliminating of fault can happen when natural causes such as weather are the reason for a pile-up. If a heart attack causes a driver to initiate a multi-car wreck, the resulting crash may be deemed a no-fault accident.

Legal Claims Associated with Negligence in Multi-Car Accidents

Many multi-car accidents lead to litigation because of insurance company denial of their policy holders’ fault or their responsibility to compensate other drivers. This is where dealing with insurance companies after a multi-car accident can get particularly difficult and cloudy.

An experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney is the expert called upon to guide injured drivers and those with property damage through processes for gaining compensation they deserve. These cases require attorneys who understand how insurance companies try to avoid payouts and appropriate settlements. A good Phoenix car accident lawyer can ensure the client receives the maximum possible compensation for injuries, damages and even pain and suffering.

As part of a legal claim against negligent drivers and their insurance companies, auto accident lawyers will investigate the multi-vehicle accident to ensure evidence of fault. Often, these investigations by legal teams find causes and negligence that insurance companies do not.

When insurance companies try to provide evidence that their driver did not cause injuries or property damage that requires compensation, the lawyer in your case can counter this assertion through evidence of their own investigation completed on your behalf. Most insurance companies settle as quickly as possible when presented with evidence they know they cannot overcome. Many settle when they are informed that a highly reputable law firm is involved for injured drivers. This is because the insurance company knows that going to court will cost even more money and could result in highly publicized financial loss that can be averted through a quicker agreement.

If you have been injured in a multi-car accident, call the experienced auto accident attorneys of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law at 602-691-7278 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case.


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