How Does a Lawsuit Work in a Multi-Vehicle Accident?

Multi-Vehicle AccidentsFinding yourself in a multi-vehicle accident is common in Pittsburgh, PA. However, when this happens, individuals often do not know what to do or how to proceed. Most folks are more focused on their injuries than on trying to figure out who caused what part of the crash, which is why you want to work with a car accident lawyer who has experience with these types of accidents and can guide you through the entire process from start to finish.

Defining a multi-vehicle accident

A multi-vehicle accident, also referred to as a “vehicle pileup” or “chain reaction crash,” is when three or more vehicles are involved in a car accident. These types of accidents may occur in a parking lot, on a highway, on a local roadway, or even in a residential neighborhood. They can involve cars, commercial trucks, or motorcycles – or any combination of them.

How does a lawsuit work in a multi-vehicle accident?

A multi-vehicle accident lawsuit typically works the same way as other types of car accident lawsuits. You speak with a lawyer who will go over your case, collect documents and evidence to support your argument, and prepare to take your case to trial. However, what makes multi-vehicle accident lawsuits different from other types of car accident lawsuits is that you will likely need to file a lawsuit against several different individuals or parties that were negligent and caused your accident.

In a typical car accident case, you file your lawsuit and name one other driver as the liable party. In a multi-vehicle case, you name ALL the liable parties. For example, one driver may be liable for the entire accident, or three different drivers may be liable for different reasons, such as drinking and driving, speeding, driving distractedly, etc. You may even find out that no driver was at fault, and it was one of the vehicle’s manufacturers that caused the entire accident. In crashes involving semi-trucks, you may name the driver, the trucking company, the broker/shipper, or some other third-party in the lawsuit, too.

Since there might be three or more vehicles involved in your accident, you may be unaware of who caused the crash and should be held accountable. The good news is that a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer from Carmody and Ging can help. We will thoroughly investigate all potential parties and determine who is responsible for the accident and your injuries.

What types of evidence do I need for my multi-vehicle accident lawsuit?

Because multi-vehicle crashes are complex, you want as much proof as possible that you are not to blame for what happened. You also want as much documentation as possible that shows the full extent of your injuries.  A few common pieces of evidence that may help you with your multi-vehicle accident lawsuit include:

  • Auto mechanic statements, receipts, and documents
  • Medical bills, documents, and statements
  • Expert and eyewitness testimonies
  • Surveillance footage
  • Photos and videos

Multi-vehicle accident cases typically require more evidence than other car accident cases because we may need to prove several different parties are liable for the accident. Therefore, if one driver was speeding, there will need to be proof of them speeding, and if one driver was driving while intoxicated, there will likely need to be proof of that as well.

You don’t have to worry about any of that. Our team handles all of this for you. We seek this type of information during the discovery phase of the process, but we also conduct our own analysis. We’ll let you know what kinds of information you need to provide to us (such as medical bills or pictures from your phone).

I think I may have played a role in my multi-vehicle accident. Can I still file a lawsuit?

Yes, you can still file a lawsuit even if you think you contributed to the crash. PA § 7102. (a) explains that “the fact that the plaintiff may have been guilty of contributory negligence shall not bar a recovery by the plaintiff of his legal representative where such negligence was not greater than the causal negligence of the defendant or defendants against whom recovery is sought.”

What this means is that you still have a case, as long as your degree of fault does not exceed the degree of fault of the defendants. Even if you’re, say, 20% at fault, you can still seek compensation for your injuries and losses. What happens is that, if you are successful, your total award would be reduced by 20%. So if you are awarded $200,000, you’d be entitled to receive $160,000 of it, because 20% of $200,000 is $40,000, so $200,000 – $40,000 = $160,000.

So that’s the first reason: you can still collect compensation. The second reason you should still file a lawsuit is because you may not be at fault at all. These cases are never straightforward, which means that it can take several steps and many weeks to find out who exactly caused the accident. If it is found that there is a possibility that you played a role in the accident, that does not mean that you will not be entitled to any compensation.

Finally, it’s a good idea to file a lawsuit because it forces the at-fault parties to accept responsibility. If a trucking company hires a dangerous driver, the lawsuit forces that company to be accountable. The same is true for dangerous drivers, or companies that sell dangerous vehicles.

If you suffer injuries from a multi-vehicle accident, the Pittsburgh car accident attorneys at Carmody and Ging are here to help. Our team has assisted clients with these types of accidents for more than 30 years, making us a reliable choice to handle your case. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!