The Mechanics of a Multiple-Car Accident
Multiple car accidents, or car pile-ups, commonly occur on multilane highways where high speeds prevent drivers from stopping before impact when they see an accident. The 14% increase in speeding on roadways reported by the Chicago Department of Transportation in 2020 increases the risk of being involved in a Chicago multiple car collision.
A multiple car accident is more dangerous and more complicated than a typical two-party car accident. In a multiple vehicle collision, three or more vehicles collide. If the collision happens in a high-trafficked area, such as on a highway or at an intersection, drivers may not be able to stop before becoming a part of the accident.
The repeated impacts of multiple cars in this type of accident can cause severe, long-lasting injuries to all involved. Call our Chicago car accident lawyers at (312) 872-3389 for a no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help you recover financial damages from your car accident.
Causes of Multi-Vehicle Car Accidents
Many vehicle accidents occur due to driver negligence. However, these accidents typically involve only two vehicles. Other cars are able to stop or avoid the collision site before they become part of the accident.
Poor weather is the most common culprit of multiple car collisions in Chicago. Black ice, high winds, and heavy snowfalls reduce visibility and traction on the roads. Drivers may not be able to see the front vehicle losing control or cannot slow down in time, resulting in a chain reaction of collisions. As the cars stop, a pile-up can form that blocks major roadways, creating a hazard for other drivers.
Driver negligence can play a role in multiple car collisions. For example, if the first car skids on black ice, but the third car is tailgating, the third driver could hit the second car, pushing it into the first.
Common Causes of Multiple Car Collisions
- Icy Roads
- Heavy Rains
- Driving too close or tailgating
- Distracting driving
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence
Determining Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Collision
As the number of cars involved in an accident increases, so does the difficulty determining fault.
The chain reaction blurs the typical arguments of liability. Typically, the rear driver would be responsible for hitting the car in front of them. However, if the car ahead was already involved in the first collision that stopped suddenly on a high-speed road, the fault could lie with them.
Illinois is a comparative negligence state, which further complicates matters. Fault can be shared amongst the multiple drivers involved in an accident. In a two-car collision, one party typically holds the majority fault. Perhaps they were texting and driving when they rear-ended another vehicle, but the other driver had a broken brake light.
Determining the percentage of fault of three or more drivers in an accident requires a professional who specializes in car accident law. They can handle the complexity of a legal case to determine liability and assist victims in receiving compensation for their damages.
Steps to Determine Fault in Multiple Car Collisions
After a multiple car collision, investigators will work to ascertain who or what caused the chain reaction to occur. These steps are part of the critical work to determine who was at fault and who is liable for the victim’s damages.
- Police will inspect physical damages to vehicles
- Police will interview all drivers involved and eyewitnesses for their accounts of the accident
- Police will record information on weather and road conditions
- Police will create a report about the accident
- Insurance companies will read the police report and conduct an investigation to determine liability
- Insurance companies will contact all parties involved, collect evidence, and study images of the damages
- Liability will be argued in court
- The liable party will be determined by the courts or the percentage of comparative negligence will be determined by the courts
This time-consuming investigation for liability involving multiple entities is the last thing that you need after the trauma of a multiple-car collision. With everyone fighting to avoid having to pay out for the accident, your pain could be forgotten. It is wise to hire a legal representative who will focus on your well-being and defend your rights throughout this process.
Experienced Chicago car accident lawyers can assist you in collecting evidence and determining fault objectively to create a stronger case.
Multi-Vehicle Accidents & Insurance Companies
After a multiple vehicle collision, you need to file a claim with your insurance company to receive compensation for damages to your car, medical benefits, and compensation for lost wages. Insurance companies require that this claim be filed as soon as possible, otherwise, they may refuse your claim without due consideration.
To file a claim for a Chicago multiple car collision, you will need the following:
- The names, license numbers, license plate numbers, addresses, and insurance companies of the other drivers involves
- Images of the physical damage done to your car and any others
- Images of any physical injuries to your person
- Receipts for repairing your vehicle, your medical treatment, and any additional care required
- Evidence of lost wages
- A written account of the accident
- An official police report
These items allow the insurance company to compile a complete picture of the event. The more evidence you provide, the fewer grounds they will have to deny your claim.
However, providing more evidence doesn’t always mean your claim will be processed. Insurance companies focus on their bottom line, not your health.
Types of Injuries In Multi-Car Collisions
In 2018, more than 10 injuries were sustained in car accidents every hour in Illinois. That’s almost 100,000 injuries due to negligent driving, poor road conditions, and vehicle malfunction.
The most common injury in car accidents of any kind is whiplash, when the head and neck are thrown forward and back with force. This injury can cause temporary muscle tightness in the neck and headaches. However, severe whiplash can lead to life-long mobility issues, jaw pain, and difficulty concentrating.
Spinal injuries resulting from Chicago multiple car collisions have led to difficulty walking, chronic pain, and paralysis in victims. It can be tied to whiplash, where the spinal cord in the neck is wrenched by the hyperextension of the impact.
These two injuries can drastically change a person’s life. Victims who work in physically demanding jobs may be unable to continue in their field. Chronic pain and headaches can decrease one’s quality of life or cause mental health issues.
Left untreated, these injuries can worsen. That’s why we urge car accident victims to seek medical attention as soon as possible following a collision, regardless of if they feel symptoms or not. Many of the injuries associated with car accidents take hours or days to appear. Do not wait until it’s too late to get treatment for your injuries.
Multi-car collisions can result in numerous other injuries depending on the location of impact.
Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions occur about half the time in severe multiple car collisions. These can lead to difficulty speaking, headaches or migraines, light sensitivity, and even death.
Roll-over collisions, where a car flips due to impact, affect the upper and lower extremities of a victim. As the car rolls, victims can suffer contusions, lacerations, and fractures from the movement of their extremities in the space. They can also suffer head, chest, pelvis, and face injuries as well.
Front-end collisions commonly cause chest, pelvic, and lower extremity injuries. If the victim is not wearing a seatbelt, they can suffer fatal wounds.
Side-on collisions impact the chest, legs, pelvis, and head of a victim. These traumatic injuries can result in internal bleeding that can be fatal if not treated.
Contact a Multiple Car Collision Accident Lawyer in Chicago Today
An experienced attorney at Langdon & Emison can present your case to your insurance company to ensure that they approve it. We have worked on multiple car collision claims for decades and know how to force insurance companies to take care of their clients.
Call (312) 872-3389 for assistance filing your claim today or for help getting the compensation for the treatment that you need.