You’re driving down the road, and the next thing you know, the car in front of you stops abruptly. You slam on the brakes, but that does not prevent you from ramming the back of the car. In a chain reaction effect, the vehicle behind you rams into your bumper, and you’re sandwiched between two cars. This is one of the most common types of multi-vehicle accidents, and although the causes of the crash may vary, they all result in damages.
The Fort Lauderdale multi-vehicle accident lawyers at Salpeter Gitkin, LLP are seasoned personal injury attorneys who can help guide you through the claims process. You may have many questions after your accident including “Who will pay my property damage bills?” and “Is there a possibility that I’m at fault?” These are valid concerns, and we can pursue the necessary actions to ensure that you’re well-informed of case facts and your rights every step of the way.
Causes of Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Multi-vehicle accidents are often avoidable, but due to driver negligence, they frequently occur, regularly causing irreversible damage and life-threatening injuries. Some common dangerous behaviors responsible for multi-vehicle accidents include:
These are only a few of the many causes of multi-vehicle collisions, and like any other accident, those involved will likely deflect fault to the other drivers involved. To avoid this from being an issue, Florida follows a system that ensures that those responsible for causing the accident are accurately penalized and that the injured party collects what they’re rightfully owed.
Determining Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
There are multiple ways to determine fault for an accident, but in Florida, we follow the “pure comparative fault” system. Under this system, one cannot be barred recovery as a result of sharing fault for the accident. Instead, the law allows those to recover (and requires at-fault parties to pay) what is owed depending on their percentage of fault.
For example, following the earlier example, your personal injury lawyer successfully litigates your case, and the court decides that you should receive $10,000 in compensation. However, the jury decides that you are 20% at fault for the accident as you were following too close to the vehicle in front of you. This reduces your recovery amount to $8,000.
Who Pays for My Damages?
In the past, you used to be able to choose which of the other drivers you wanted to pay out your settlement under “joint and several” liability. Now, the court decides who pays what depending on assigned fault.
In this case, the jury decides that the driver of the vehicle in front of you (Car A) is 50% at fault and the driver behind you (Car B) is 30% at fault. This will require the driver of Car A to pay 50% of the total $10,000 award amount ($5,000) and the driver of Car B to pay the remaining 30% ($3,000), leaving you responsible for your 20%.
Seasoned Fort Lauderdale Multi-Vehicle Accident Attorneys
The best way to ensure maximum compensation is to have the help of a knowledgeable attorney. By having a lawyer who can negotiate a high settlement amount, you have the opportunity to recover a generous amount of money regardless if you’re found partially at fault.