Establishing Liability In Florida Multi-Car Accidents
Being involved in a car accident can be a scary thing for the average person, but if the accident involves multiple vehicles (more than 2), that fear and trauma can double, triple, and quadruple. If you are hurt, you have the right to seek damages for your injuries, but figuring out who might be liable and how to file that claim can feel like far too much for you, particularly if your injuries are severe. An experienced attorney may be able to help.
Common Causes For Accidents
Florida is a state with quite a lot of traffic, and for a variety of reasons, multi-car accidents do happen with relative regularity. One of the most common situations that can lead to multi-vehicle pile-ups is when one vehicle stops quickly, causing another to rear-end it, and so on. Other common reasons why these wrecks happen include substance abuse, bad weather, and distracted driving, though this is hardly an exhaustive list.
It is worth noting that multi-car accidents will often lead to particularly severe injuries, such as losses of limbs or certain bodily functions. This is relevant because unless one’s injuries meet certain criteria under Florida law, the state’s no-fault auto insurance system forbids auto accident victims from filing suit against the person who (allegedly) caused their injuries. If your injuries are “significant and permanent,” the law allows an injured accident victim to sue, but if they are not, your case would almost certainly be shunted toward your auto insurance carrier, rather than the courts.
How To Assign Liability?
The major issue that most people have with multi-vehicle accidents is, as one might imagine, trying to apportion liability to each defendant according to their fault. In other words, because there are multiple drivers involved in these types of accidents, it can be hard to tell whose actions were the direct cause of the crash and caused the plaintiff’s injuries. It is important to distinguish between criminal guilt (which requires a total absence of reasonable doubt) and civil error (which is much simpler to prove). The former requires malice or deliberate recklessness, while mere mistakes fall under civil law, requiring a lower evidentiary standard to establish.
Florida is what is known as a comparative fault state, which means that even if you are found to have been partly liable for what you have been through, you still may have a chance to recover minus your percentage of fault. This can be particularly helpful in multi-vehicle crashes – if you are found, for example, 20 percent at fault, you could still recover up to 80 percent of your damages if a judge or jury finds it appropriate (or if your case settles).
Contact A Winter Park Multi-Vehicle Crash Attorney
After an accident that involves multiple motor vehicles, the victims can have serious, long-lasting, life-changing injuries, but even those who were luckier still may be profoundly affected by the event. If you have been injured in a multi-vehicle auto accident, calling a Winter Park car accident attorney should be one of your first steps. Call the offices of the Hornsby Law Group today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.