How is My Recovery Affected in an Accident Involving Multiple Cars?

an accident involving multiple cars

Accidents that involve multiple vehicles can be more complex than accidents involving just one, or two vehicles. While every driver in Florida is required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP)—which covers medical costs and wage losses due to an accident up to $10,000—the at-fault driver’s insurance policy will ultimately pay for any damages over $10,000 to each affected driver and/or passenger of the accident. The fault is determined by determining “negligence,” i.e., whether one of the drivers breached their duty of care to drive safely, thus causing harm to others. If you’re involved in one of these accidents, you’re probably asking yourself, how is my recovery affected in an accident involving multiple cars? We can help.

After the accident, there will often be a written report completed by the law enforcement officer in charge of investigating the scene of the collision. These reports are called “crash reports” and are available to be viewed through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Often, these reports will include details of how the accident happened, including: any citations given if a “probable cause” determination was made; witnesses statements (if applicable); information about the vehicles involved in the accident; and the location and time at which the accident took place. “Probable cause” determinations may describe whether a driver was operating the vehicle in a careless or distracted manner. Insurance companies will often use these reports to determine liability.

Who is Responsible for a Multiple-Car Accident?

Multi-vehicle accidents involve three or more vehicles. The insurance companies will first look at the crash report to determine if the investigating police officer at the scene found any of the drivers to be at fault for the accident. Additional details in the report, including whether a driver was acting in a negligent or careless manner, may also affect how the insurance adjusters decide liability for the damages caused by the accident. Finally, your attorney may help you determine if you are likely to recover damages based on the evidence.

Can More Than One Driver Be Liable for the Accident If There Are Multiple Cars Involved? 

Yes, it is possible. In multi-vehicle crashes, you may ask whether more than one driver could be deemed “responsible” for the accident. Florida law applies the doctrine of comparative fault to these scenarios. This doctrine means that a judge or jury may assign damages among different parties in accordance with the percentage of fault they ascribe to each party to the accident. If you are found to be partially at fault for an accident, your own recovery would be reduced by the percentage that you are found to be at fault. For example, if one driver is found to be eighty percent (80%) at fault for the accident, and you and the third driver are each found to be ten percent (10%) at fault, then the damages awarded to you will be reduced by ten percent (10%) based on the percentage of fault that the fact-finder ascribed to you.

What Affects My Settlement in an Accident with Multiple Cars?

Factors that affect the outcome of a claim with accidents involving one or two vehicles also affect accidents involving three or more vehicles. The amount of compensation that you receive in damages will depend on the following factors: 

  • Whether your accident involved serious injuries: Serious injuries require significant medical intervention, such as emergency room treatment, hospital care, surgery, and ongoing rehabilitation. Some injuries require more treatment than others, and thus, individuals do not recover at the same rate.
  • Whether you need emergency and/or require ongoing medical treatment: Receiving immediate and appropriate medical care after an accident can not only help diagnose and treat your injuries but improve your chances of obtaining a full recovery and just compensation for your losses.
  • Whether you lost the ability to work due to the accident: If you were unable to work because of the accident, whether short-term or long-term, you will want to document the lost wages for your attorney. You may be able to recover damages for your lost work.
  • Your emotional state, pain, and suffering following the accident: The emotional impact of being involved in an accident can be traumatic. Your attorney will demand a settlement amount from the insurance company to cover the mental stress that you endured due to the accident.

Contact Us

Don’t just keep wondering “how is my recovery affected in an accident involving multiple cars?” Contact us if you have been in a car accident. We can provide you with a free consultation.