There can be a tendency in multi-vehicle collisions to assume the last person in line is responsible for everything. In fact, most multi-vehicle collisions occur due to a combination of contributing factors. At any given time, a driver on the road is surrounded by others ranging from the newly licensed to those with 60+ year driving records and, of course, there is always the potential for an unlicensed or uninsured driver to be included in that mix. Vehicles involved can be private or commercial and, more and more, we are seeing people utilize their personal vehicles for both purposes.
An experienced personal injury attorney will look at every driver and every vehicle and piece together the sequence of events and each contributing factor to determine all avenues of potential recovery. An attorney, like an auto accident lawyer, turns to, will investigate whether other drivers involved may have been following too closely, driving too fast for conditions, distracted by electronic devices, or operating vehicles while drowsy or impaired. An attorney will also look at the vehicles to determine if faulty equipment caused or compounded the damages. A faulty braking system, malfunctioning lights or transmissions, or a commercial vehicle in general disrepair often increases the number and severity of injuries, even if the malfunction was not the first contributing factor.
Attorneys also closely investigate the conditions at the location when and where the collision took place. Commercial vehicles blocking the roadway for purposes of making a delivery without posting a signalman on the roadway can lead to additional recovery against the driver of that vehicle and/or the place of business where delivery was occurring. Construction activities occurring adjacent to public roadways may be found to have blocked the view of oncoming or turning traffic. Smoke from agricultural field fires is frequently found to be an underlying cause in multi-vehicle collisions.
Another factor is the roadway itself. Public money is used to build and maintain roadways and signage and if an attorney determines that those elements may be a factor in the collision, the attorney will take the required legal steps to put the correct government entity on notice. The process and timing for issuing notices to government entities varies from state to state and can be updated or changed every time a new office holder is sworn in. Those with personal injury claims involving a public or government entity benefit greatly from engaging an experienced attorney early in the process to ensure that all potential claims against the government are preserved.
And finally, a driver may need his or her attorney to interact with the driver’s own insurance company. It’s not unheard of for a driver in a multi-vehicle collision to find out the driver’s own insurance has settled a related claim without even a courtesy call to its own insured driver. At other times, insurance companies may concoct their own scheme to pool moneys and propose payouts based on agreements reached amongst themselves and will attempt to pressure policy holders into agreeing. Having an effective, respected personal injury attorney is one’s best protection from insurance companies that are ultimately more concerned with their individual balance sheets than their insured’s well-being.