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Shapiro & Appleton

Multi-Vehicle Accidents in Virginia - Who is At-Fault and Who Pays?

You are driving along Interstate 64 (I-64) headed towards Williamsburg, Virginia. You notice traffic stopped ahead. You apply your brakes to slow down. The driver behind you fails to do the same and slams into the back your vehicle. This impact causes your vehicle to propel forward and collide with a third vehicle in front of you. Both you and the driver in the third vehicle suffer serious injuries. This scenario is often called a multi-vehicle collision or a "chain reaction" accident. 

 

How Liability is Determined

Establishing who is liable in a chain reaction accident can get complicated and it is quite common for auto insurance companies to dispute liability when more than two vehicles are involved in a  collision. This is why it makes sense to hire an experienced Williamsburg personal injury lawyer to handle your case. A lawyer can investigate the accident scene, contact any witnesses, obtain copies of the accident report and medical records, and so forth. This takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of you so you can focus on getting back to 100 percent. 
 
The details of the accident report can help clarify liability. For example, if a police report expressly states that the first vehicle initiated contact with your vehicle, then an argument could be made that the driver of the first vehicle is liable for the chain reaction accident. 

Insurance Coverage May Be an Issue

In addition to potentially contested liability, there is the issue of sufficient insurance coverage to properly compensate you for your harms and losses. In a multi-vehicle accident, there may be multiple drivers and occupants who suffered injuries. If the negligent driver has an auto insurance policy that is bare bones (e.g., $25,000/$50,000 policy) then it is likely that there will not be enough coverage to properly compensate all of the injuries parties. In this situation, you may be able to turn to the underinsured motorist coverage of your own auto insurance policy. Learn more about this coverage here

Damages that May Be Pursued

When liability is established, damages that may be recovered include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the negligent driver was acting in a reckless or wanton fashion (e.g., driving while intoxicated), you may also be able to pursue punitive damages (a.k.a. punishment damages). 

Four Reasons to Contact Our Law Firm Today

  1. We have a track record of success in obtaining large settlements and verdicts for our clients (though no result can be guaranteed for your potential case). 
  2. Recognized as "Super Lawyers" in Virginia by Super Lawyers Magazine (since '06)
  3. Free, confidential consultations and contingency fee arrangements so you pay us nothing until we obtain a settlement or verdict in your favor.
  4. The firm is recognized as a "Best Law Firm" by U.S. News & World Report (since '10) for personal injury litigation.
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