Liability, Responsibility, and Compensation in Multi-Car Crashes
When two vehicles collide in an auto accident, assessing fault is pretty straightforward. But when multiple cars are involved, it can be complicated to establish legal liability.
Let’s say your car is rear-ended by a truck, and then your vehicle hits the car in front, and that car crashes into the sidewalk, strikes dozens of pedestrians, and shatters glass doors. Who gets charged in court and who gets paid for personal injuries and property damage?
How to Determine Multi-Car Crash Liability
Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means that your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance covers medical expenses and other out-of-pocket losses regardless of who caused the accident. When the limit of the policy is reached, drivers may look to the other parties to pay for damages.
PIP coverage typically includes:
- Medical treatment costs resulting from the accident
- Medical mileage expenses
- 85% of lost wages due to the injury for up to three years from the date of the crash
- Attendant care or nursing services
- Maximum of $20 per day in household replacement services
PIP coverage is not only limited to the policyholder. You may claim benefits if you are:
- A family member living in the policyholder’s house
- A passenger or pedestrian who gets hurt in an accident involving the policyholder’s car
- A motorcyclist gets injured in an accident involving the policyholder’s car
If a single driver initiates a chain reaction that the rest could not have avoided, then that driver may bear responsibility for everything.
When more than one driver contributed to the accident, all of them may be held liable to those who are without fault.
There may also be outside factors that influence legal liability
- Vehicle type
If the driver of a commercial vehicle is on the clock during the time of the accident, their employer may bear partial liability, especially if the driver has a poor driving record.
- Driver condition
If the driver was drunk during the time of the accident, the bar that served them may bear partial liability, especially if the bartender was aware that the driver would be getting behind the wheel.
- Road condition
Is there snow or ice on the road? Are there obstructions? Was the accident caused by poor visibility? The city might bear partial liability if these conditions resulted in a multi-car accident.
Determining liability in multi-car crashes can be a complicated process, which is why you need to hire an expert lawyer if ever you get involved in such accidents.
How to Determine Multi-Car Crash Compensation
As mentioned earlier, your personal injury protection insurance should cover your immediate medical expenses. The state of Michigan requires insurance carriers to pay medical coverage up to a maximum of $500,000.
If you are injured in a multi-car accident, you may be entitled to the following compensation:
- Payment for medical treatment
With the cost of hospitalization, physical therapy, and numerous visits to your doctor, medical bills can quickly add up. If you are severely injured, you might even need to modify your vehicle or home access after the accident.
- Payment for pain and suffering
Multi-car accidents not only cause physical injuries but emotional trauma as well. This can have a long-term impact on your quality of life moving forward.
- Payment for lost income
Car accidents can significantly reduce your earning potential. If you are unable to return to work because of your injuries, it becomes impossible to provide for your family while you are recovering.
- Payment for funeral and burial expenses
Multi-car crashes can cause serious injuries, and in some cases, even death. If you die in a multi-vehicle accident, your family may be able to receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses.
Get Help from an Experienced Multi-Car Crash Lawyer in Michigan
The Michigan Legislature passed a new No-Fault Auto Insurance Law last May 25, 2019, which was signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer five days later. These sweeping changes to the old law will affect auto insurance policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020. It is wise to brush up on your auto insurance knowledge to ensure that your policy works for you. But if the topics of coverage and liability seem overwhelming to you, we are here to help.
If you have been involved in a multi-car crash and need legal representation to help you claim compensation, contact The Clark Law Office today at (517) 347-6900 for a free consultation.