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Car accidents are complicated enough when there are only two parties involved. Add in a third, fourth, or fifth driver and suddenly the intensity of the ensuing insurance investigations alone is enough to make anyone’s head spin.

Here are a few facts to help you understand the intricacies of multiple car collisions in Florida. If you’ve been caught up in a confusing crash, call a West Palm Beach multiple car collision lawyer who knows what to do next.

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The Mechanics of a Multiple Car Collision

Imagine that you’re sitting in the left turn lane at a blinking yellow light. You’re waiting for a break in traffic so you can safely cross the street. A car approaches from behind and doesn’t notice that you’re completely stopped.

The driver crashes into your car and sends you directly into the flow of traffic, where you are hit by several other cars. You are now part of a multiple-car collision.

Also known as “pile-ups,” multiple car collisions have a variety of causes and have an endless number of ways they could play out depending on where the crash happened, how many cars were involved, driver speed, etc.

The most important thing to remember is that multiple car collisions always involve more than two cars, and they are just as dangerous as they sound.

Multi-Vehicle Car Accident Causes

A meta-analysis of 2004 police-reported crash data found that the top three causes of multi-vehicle car accidents are the lead vehicle suddenly stopping, slowing down, or going slower than the speed limit.

However, data says that the deadliest and most common cause of multi-vehicle accidents is when a driver enters an opposing lane and crashes into another car before it can maneuver out of the way.

2018 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the top five causes of car accidents are driving too fast for conditions, driving under the influence or while inebriated, failure to stay in the right lane, failure to yield to the right of way, and distracted driving.

Unfortunately, these causes also carry over to multi-vehicle collisions. Driving too fast for conditions can easily force drivers to cross lanes without warning or launch over highway barriers and into oncoming traffic, which we mentioned earlier.

Drivers who are distracted or under the influence suffer from slower reaction times and decreased decision-making capabilities. These combine to form a deadly combination that killed more than 13,000 drivers in 2019, according to the NHTSA.

Many multi-vehicle car accidents happen on highways and other high-speed roads, which means that you’re much more likely to be involved in what’s called a “chain-reaction” crash. A chain reaction crash is what happens when person A crashes into person B, who then crashes into person C, and so on.

Highways are the perfect storm for chain-reaction crashes due to high speeds, constant lane changes, and the fact that drivers often follow the car in front of them much more closely than recommended.

Determining Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Collision

When it comes to determining fault, the complexity of finding a clear-cut answer almost always rises exponentially. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as in the case of a runaway big rig, fault in a multi-vehicle collision likely will be split among several parties through Florida’s comparative fault rule.

This rule means that your percentage of fault as determined by authorities will proportionately affect any damages, economic or otherwise, awarded to you during a car accident lawsuit.

Multi-Vehicle Accidents & Insurance Companies

Florida requires drivers to carry no-fault accident insurance, which means that you can get immediate medical costs covered with your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The state Department of Motor Vehicles says that PIP coverage will pay for 80% of all necessary medical costs for injuries covered by your policy.

However, Florida only requires drivers to have a minimum of $10,000 worth of PIP coverage, which means that your medical expenses and ongoing treatment may not be completely covered. In such an instance, you can attempt to recoup medical costs through a car accident lawsuit.

Common Types of Multi-Car Collision Injuries

Since 2015, about 12,222 people have died in multi-vehicle collisions in the U.S. Those multi-vehicle crashes also injured 1,050,332 people.

The most common types of multi-car collision injuries echoes those found in the average car crash, which includes broken bones, head trauma, and soft tissue damage.

There are more than 200 fatal car accidents in Florida each month. Those numbers may be higher for last year as early data shows that the overall number of fatal car accidents rose by nearly 5% during the first nine months of 2020.

In Palm Beach alone, about a dozen people die in multi-vehicle collisions each year, according to federal data.

If you’ve been in a multi-vehicle crash, let our lawyers help you get the compensation you need. Contact us today for a free multi-vehicle collision case evaluation.