January 15, 2018
It’s bad enough to get hit by another car. It’s even worse when that accident causes you to barrel into someone else’s car.
Indianapolis is no stranger to multi-vehicle car accidents. With massive highways and crawling rush hour traffic, it’s all too easy for someone’s reckless driving to cause a chain reaction.
Indiana is a fault state, which means that how much you can expect to recover in a car accident is directly proportional to how much the car accident is your fault. But fault becomes increasingly complicated in a multi-vehicle car accident. If you’re injured, who is responsible? Will you be responsible for someone else’s injuries if your accident caused you to crash into yet another vehicle?
When the Initiating Car Is Responsible
Typically, the car that initiated the pile-up is responsible for the accident.
Let’s say there are three cars in line at a stoplight. You are the second car, with the first car in front of you and the third car behind you. A fourth car comes barreling down the road and smashes into the third car. The third car runs into you, causing you to run into the first car.
In this scenario, the driver of the fourth car is responsible for the accident. Yes, the third car is the one who technically hit you, but you would go through the driver of the fourth car’s insurance because they initiated the pile-up. Likewise, if the driver of the first car suffered damages, you would not be responsible. Instead, you would direct them to file a claim through the fourth driver’s insurance company.
It’s still important to get the contact information of all drivers involved, regardless if you think you’re certain that the fault lies with one driver. Not only does each of you have a separate claim, but you may also be able to provide witness statements in each other’s claims if the at-fault driver’s insurance company is uncooperative.
When Fault Is Divided
It’s rare, however, that fault is as cut-and-dry as the situation above would suggest.
Let’s look at another example. You’re stuck in rush hour traffic on I-465, crawling along at 10 miles per hour, with a blue car in front of you and a silver car behind you. The left lane is empty, but that’s because it ends about a quarter mile up the road due to construction. Multiple signs are telling people to get over into the right lane because the left lane is closed.
A red car in the left lane speeds past and cuts into your lane in front of the blue car without using a turn signal. The blue car has to stop suddenly, and you have to slam on your brakes. You manage to stop before hitting the car, but the person in the silver car behind you is texting while driving and slams into you, causing you to slam into the blue car, and causing the blue car to slam into the red car.
Who’s at fault? The red car that was speeding and didn’t use their turn signal? The silver car that was texting while driving? What if the driver of the blue car was talking on the phone?
Indiana recognizes comparative fault. That means that as a fault state, Indiana doesn’t assign 100 percent of the blame to one driver all of the time. Instead, fault can be split. As long as you are less than 51 percent at fault, you can file a claim through the other driver’s insurance company instead of your own.
In multi-vehicle car accidents, fault can be divided among many drivers. In order to know whose insurance company with which you should file your claim, it’s important to talk to an experience Indiana car accident attorney. They can take a look at your case and help you determine your options for recovery.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a multi-vehicle car accident, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.