How Is Fault Determined in a Multi-Vehicle Accident?
After a wreck involving more than two drivers, determining fault in a multi-vehicle accident is one of the first steps on the road to financial recovery. But, this is often easier said than done. Identifying the driver, drivers, or other parties that are liable for your injuries can prove challenging, and gathering the evidence you need to prove your legal rights requires a prompt and thorough investigation.
The auto accident attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright have helped car accident victims throughout Orlando and other Florida areas for years. If you need help proving fault in a multi-vehicle accident, we can handle every aspect of your case and help you pursue the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled under the law.
Steps To Take After a Multi-Vehicle Accident
There are some important steps that drivers (and passengers) can take to help their lawyers prove fault in a multi-vehicle accident. For example, as soon as possible after the accident, it is important to:
- Call 911 – When you call 911 after a car accident, the police should respond to the location of the accident and conduct an on-scene investigation. The police should then prepare an accident report detailing their findings and conclusions.
- Take Photos and Videos – While the police report can be helpful when dealing with the aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident, victims cannot rely on the police report exclusively. Taking lots of photos and videos at the scene of the accident can be extremely helpful as well.
- Hire a Lawyer – When you hire a lawyer to determine who was at fault in your multi-vehicle accident, your lawyer will seek to gather additional evidence of liability through various means. Depending on the circumstances, this may involve dispatching an investigator to the scene of the accident, obtaining employment records or cell phone data, and pursuing a variety of other sources.
Evidence Used to Determine Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
While certain types of evidence (i.e., surveillance camera footage) can provide clear and comprehensive insight into how a multi-vehicle accident happened, oftentimes it will be necessary to piece together information from multiple sources. For example, some of the types of evidence your lawyer may use to establish liability and seek just compensation on your behalf include:
- Cell phone records
- Dash cam or traffic camera footage
- Employment records
- Forensic evidence (i.e., skid marks and debris in the roadway)
- Photos and videos from the crash site
- Police report
- Vehicle inspection reports
- Vehicle maintenance records and service history
- Vehicle telematics or “black box” data
- Witness statements and testimony
Methods for Determining Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
Using these (and potentially other) forms of evidence, your lawyer will work to determine the chain of events involved in your multi-vehicle accident. To do so, your lawyer will rely on one or more of the following methods:
1. Analyzing the Physical Evidence and Relevant Records
By analyzing the physical evidence obtained from the crash site, your lawyer will be able to assess factors such as the relative position of each vehicle, the location and severity of the damage to each vehicle, and the specific event (or events) that triggered the collision. If the police report indicates that one or more drivers were drunk, or if a driver’s cell phone records indicate that he or she was texting at the time of the crash, this could also help with establishing liability.
In cases involving large trucks and other commercial vehicles, drivers’ employment records can serve as key evidence as well. Under Florida law, companies are liable for their drivers’ negligence in most cases, and companies can also be deemed at fault in multi-vehicle accidents for failing to adequately maintain their fleet vehicles.
2. Obtaining Statements from Drivers and Witnesses
Driver and witness statements can also serve as key evidence in multi-vehicle accident cases. Particularly if multiple drivers and witnesses recount the same version of the events, their statements can carry significant weight when it comes to proving liability in insurance settlement negotiations or in court.
3. Accident Reconstruction
Accident reconstruction is the science of using forensic evidence to recreate the circumstances of a crash—and it can be particularly useful in the case of a multi-vehicle accident. Accident reconstructionists analyze the data from a collision and then input these data into a computer application that simulates the crash. When prepared correctly, these simulations can serve as strong evidence of liability; and, when necessary, lawyers can present these simulations along with accident reconstructionists’ expert testimony at trial.
Call an Orlando Car Accident Lawyer for Free
If you have been seriously injured in a multi-vehicle accident in Florida, an Orlando car accident lawyer at Colling Gilbert Wright can work quickly to determine who (or what company) was at fault in the collision and fight to recover the financial compensation you deserve.