Handling Complex Accident Cases Involving Multiple Vehicles
There are many benefits to living in the large metropolitan area of Chicago. The access to museums and cultural events, proximity to the lake and various parks, and a variety of excellent restaurants make this city an appealing place to spend time. As with any big city, traffic is a major issue for commuters and visitors alike. When you consider the number of cars on the road and mix that with dangerous weather conditions, distracted drivers, and impatient people sitting in rush hour traffic, it should be no surprise that multi-car accidents are a somewhat common occurrence throughout the year.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured in a Multi-Car Accident
You’ve pulled onto the highway and are driving at a reasonable speed, keeping up with traffic. The roads are a bit slick because it rained or snowed that morning, so people are going below the speed limit. All of the sudden, traffic slows down and you follow along. Unfortunately, the person behind you was either driving too fast, didn’t see your brake lights, or wasn’t able to react in time. They rear-end your car, resulting in your vehicle crashing into the car in front of you. It’s a scenario that most city drivers have played out in their minds, but when it becomes a reality, understanding how to react correctly can be a challenge.
If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few steps you can take to help protect your health and your potential claim.
- Assess your injuries and take proper medical precautions—let someone know immediately if you need to call an ambulance. If your injuries do not seem urgent, it is still essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Sometimes symptoms don’t show up for hours or even days after the initial impact. For example, whiplash is a serious injury that might not be apparent directly after the accident but can become incredibly painful and be debilitating shortly after.
- Call the police to report the accident—they are trained to know how to deal with multi-car crashes and will respond as needed. They will also file an official accident report that can help to support your case.
Once it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and speak with anyone who might have witnessed the accident. The police should collect information from everyone involved as well.
Liability in Multi-Vehicle Crashes Can be Complicated
To seek payment for your medical bills and other accident-related losses, you must determine who was responsible for causing the crash, which can be challenging in a multi-car accident. Often, more than one driver may have acted negligently—for example, one driver ran a red light but another driver did not stop to avoid the collision because they were looking down at their phone. If more than one driver contributed to the crash, you can file claims against both to hold them liable for your losses. Our attorneys know how to identify any drivers, auto manufacturers, or additional parties that may be at fault.
In addition, you may believe that you also contributed to a multi-car pile-up. If you were the driver looking down at your phone when someone else ran a red light, you may assume that you cannot seek financial recovery because you were also negligent. This is a mistake, however, as under Illinois law, injured parties can seek compensation even if they may have been partially responsible for a crash. If the other driver was 75 percent responsible and you were 25 percent responsible, you can still seek recovery for 75 percent of your losses.
These are only two of many reasons why multi-car accident claims can be complicated and you need a law firm who has experience handling such challenging cases. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we have represented clients against multiple parties and can advise you of your rights based on the circumstances of your crash.
Be Wary of Calls from Insurance Companies
After an accident, it is very common for both your insurance company and those of the other drivers involved to reach out to you and request a statement. The insurance adjusters will typically act concerned about your injuries and seem like they want to help you. They might ask you to recall, in your own words, what happened at the accident. They might also ask about your medical care. Although it might be tempting to speak with them and discuss these details, it is important to keep any communications with representatives from the insurance companies to a minimum until you speak with an attorney who will handle all communications for you.
Any statement you provide can be used against you in an effort to reduce the value of your claim. While it might seem like the insurance companies are working to help you, they are in the business of turning a profit. Your claim might be the primary source of compensation you receive after a serious car accident, and it is essential to protect yourself and maximize the value of your monetary award. For this reason, it is beneficial to direct all inquiries to your lawyer. An attorney who has experience working with car accident victims is better equipped to handle these conversations.
Call a Chicago, Illinois, Personal Injury Attorney Today
An accident that involves multiple cars can result in serious injuries to everyone involved. The aftermath of an accident can be a confusing time, and managing calls from the insurance company, dealing with doctor appointments, and organizing time off work to recover can become overwhelming. If you have been hurt in a car accident, it is advisable to speak with a personal injury lawyer without delay.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., our legal team has worked with many people throughout the Chicago area who have sustained serious injuries in a car accident. We are dedicated to advocating for our clients’ rights to just compensation. Call us today at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We will discuss the details of your case and work towards a positive resolution.