A multi-car pileup or a multi-vehicle accident refers to when three or more cars are involved in a wreck. Typically, one car will rear-end another, causing a “chain reaction." When this happens, you have a series of impacted cars, which can make it very difficult to determine which driver started the chain reaction. What’s worse, some multi-car accidents involve more than one negligent or reckless driver, making it even harder to assess exactly how many people are at fault and who should be held legally and financially accountable. Cars in Highway Traffic

Multi-car pile-ups often result in more serious injuries or deaths than crashes with only two cars. The complex nature of these crashes makes it difficult for injured drivers to receive the compensation they need to move on with their lives. If you’ve been injured in a multi-vehicle wreck in South Carolina, an experienced car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Kenneth Berger can help. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation at (803) 790-2800 in Columbia, SC, or 843-427-2800 in Myrtle Beach.

What Scenarios Cause Multi-Car Pile Ups?

A multi-car pile-up typically refers to any wreck that involves three or more vehicles. Some of the most common scenarios where a multi-vehicle accident occurs include:

  • Rear-end collision. The rear car starts a chain reaction of rear-end crashes.
  • Chain reaction from a car crash. Two cars collide, and other cars cannot avoid crashing into them.
  • Bad decision-making during driving. Two or more cars trying to enter an intersection at the same time.

How Are Insurance Claims Paid in a Pile-Up Crash?

In a multi-car crash involving multiple drivers, insurance claims can become quite complex. Insurance claims are typically paid out based on the determination of fault, which can vary depending on the circumstances of the accident and the laws of the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Here's a general overview of how insurance claims are paid out in multi-car crashes:

Determining Fault

The first step in handling insurance claims for a multi-car accident is to determine who was at fault for the crash. This determination is usually made by insurance adjusters, law enforcement officers who investigate the scene, and sometimes the courts if there is a dispute.

Multiple At-Fault Parties

In some multi-car accidents, there may be multiple drivers found at fault to varying degrees. In such cases, each at-fault driver's insurance company is responsible for paying the portion of the damages attributed to their insured. This is often determined through a process called "comparative fault.”

At-Fault Driver's Coverage

The at-fault driver's liability insurance typically covers the damages and injuries caused to other parties involved in the accident. This coverage includes property damage and bodily injury liability.

Coverage Limits

Each driver involved in the accident will have their own insurance policy with coverage limits. The at-fault driver's insurance will pay out claims up to their policy limits. If the damages exceed these limits, the at-fault driver may be personally responsible for the excess amount. You may also be able to rely on your own underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) if you have it - see below. 

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If one or more at-fault drivers do not have insurance or do not have enough coverage to cover all the damages caused by the pile-up, victims of the accident may turn to their own uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) - if they have it - to cover their damages. Uninsured motorist coverage is included in all South Carolina car accident policies and can be used if someone without car insurance crashes into you. Underinsured coverage on the other hand is a supplemental policy that allows you to rely on your own insurance coverage if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover all the damages associated with the crash. When purchasing your insurance policy, the agent must make a meaningful offer of underinsured motorist coverage up to the limits of the insured's liability coverage. If the insurer does not make the offer, "...the policy will be reformed, by operation of law, to include UIM coverage..."

Receiving the compensation you need to recover after a multi-car crash can quickly become a complex process. Our experienced attorneys are here to walk you through the process and make sure you are treated fairly throughout the insurance claim process. We offer free consultations and would be happy to talk with you about the details of your crash to determine if you would benefit from working with a legal team.

How to Determine Who is At Fault in a Multi-Car Crash

If you were involved in a wreck with three or more cars, you are probably concerned about who will be responsible for paying compensation to the other drivers. The reality is that multi-car pile-ups are very complicated, and it can be difficult to determine which driver was at fault without legal help from an experienced car crash lawyer.

Drivers will likely try to place the blame on each other, and eyewitnesses might not be able to determine which car caused the first collision. There may even be multiple drivers who are technically at fault. It is necessary to determine who should ultimately be held responsible in order for injured individuals to receive the compensation they deserve.

In some cases, an accident reconstruction expert may be needed to assess exactly what happened during the wreck properly. Further investigation by the police and reports from other experts will likely be utilized. Our legal team will often attempt to identify and preserve additional evidence to help prove liability, including witness statements, video footage from nearby businesses, and dashcam footage from nearby vehicles. All vehicles involved in the collision will likely be assessed to determine where they experienced impact. Each of these factors is important in untangling which drivers are ultimately responsible.

If You Are the Last Car in a 3-Car Pile Up, Who’s At Fault?

You may automatically assume that the last car in a multi-vehicle pileup is one at fault for causing the accident. However, this is not always the case.

For example, the front car may have suddenly braked due to a hazard on the road, causing the cars behind them to crash. They may be held partially liable for the collision. Determining the at-fault drivers in a multi-car accident is not always straightforward. Our car accident attorney team can help ensure liability is properly assigned to each driver in a multiple-vehicle accident.

How Our Multi-Vehicle Accident Lawyers Can Help Establish Liability

If you’ve been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, you should not have to worry about how to hold the negligent parties responsible so you can seek the compensation you deserve. Our injury attorneys have years of experience with complex car accident claims and can help you hold the responsible parties both legally and financially accountable for their actions.

Some of the ways our attorneys can help establish liability include:

  • Review car accident reports that law enforcement created at the scene of the crash;
  • Taking statements from all the parties involved in the wreck, including witnesses and passengers;
  • Hiring a crash reconstruction expert to provide insight into how the wreck happened.
  • Gathering and preserving evidence, such as video footage from nearby traffic cameras and businesses.

Our attorneys will work diligently to investigate your accident, uncover evidence, and determine fault. You can rely on our lawyers to handle the insurance company and other third parties who may try to pin the blame on you. After being injured in any car wreck, your health and recovery should always be your top priority. Let us help you navigate the legal system so you can focus on your wellbeing.

Contact our South Carolina Multi-Car Accident Lawyers Today

Don’t take on a multi-vehicle accident on your own. If you were injured in a multi-car pileup in South Carolina, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Let us handle the complexity of a multi-vehicle wreck so you can prioritize your health. To set up a free consultation with our car crash lawyer team, call us today at (803) 790-2800 in Columbia, SC, or 843-427-2800 in Myrtle Beach or contact us via the live chat box below.

Kenneth Berger
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Columbia and Myrtle Beach car accident and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.