A multi-vehicle accident is among the most catastrophic road incidents involving multiple accident victims. Additionally, knowing what to do after a multiple car crash is not always automatic because of the shock and trauma you experience. Consequently, determining the party at fault after a multiple car crash can be difficult, especially if the incident occurred too fast. As a result, various challenges present when accident victims decide to seek compensation for the harm suffered because they need to engage in specific strategies. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, you will receive high-quality legal services to help you recover from a multi-vehicle accident. Our years of experience in personal injury law also make us a reliable source of information on what to do after the accident.
Understanding the Nature of a Multi-Vehicle Accident
Many accidents on the road involve two colliding vehicles, often when one loses control and hits the other. On the other hand, multi-vehicle crashes involve more than two cars involved in a collision, meaning that the incident is more severe and may result in more high-risk injuries for victims.
Different causes result in multiple car crashes, so each incident presents unique circumstances. By understanding the cause of your accident, you will be better equipped to determine the crucial steps after a collision. Common causes include speeding and drunk driving, particularly because the label driver has little to no control over the vehicle.
Additional causes include poor vehicle maintenance, especially where the car brakes fail. Nevertheless, the primary cause for brake failure is often linked to high speeds on the road. Further, failure to observe traffic lights has resulted in many multiple car crashes, particularly at intersections. For example, when a vehicle runs a red light and is involved in a T-bone accident, the impact force may push one of the vehicles to a third party and cause a collision as well.
Tailgating is also recognized as a major cause of multi-vehicle accidents, whereby motorists follow the vehicle ahead of them too closely. Consequently, any need for island braking will catch the driver liable for tailgating by surprise, meaning that they are very likely to crash. If the driver behind was also within close range, they may be involved in the domino effect and cause multiple crashes.
What to Do After Involvement in a Multi-Vehicle Accident
Although some multiple crash accidents are manageable and expose victims to minimal safety hazards, you need to understand the steps to take after the accident for your wellbeing. Moreover, reacting to the incident by following the correct steps can make a difference for you, especially if you intend to pursue legal action against the liable party.
Thus, the following are important steps to take after involvement in a multiple car crash accident:
Remain Calm and Avoid Sudden Movements
While an accident evokes panic and adrenaline as natural reactions, it is important to remain calm or to try and calm yourself down. This is because you are less likely to think and strategize more clearly when in a state of panic. Additionally, your breathing may reduce, causing you to face serious medical complications unrelated to physical injuries sustained from the accident.
By calming yourself and others in the vehicle down, you will also avoid sudden movements and reduce the chances of sustaining additional injury. Doing so is crucial after the collision, mostly because you are not yet aware of the damage caused to the car.
For example, you may be unaware of the damage to the windshield and decide to tap it as a call for help. The glass may shatter your body and cause deep cuts or abrasions, which are easily avoided by avoiding sudden movements.
Remain Inside Your Car Until It is Safe to Exit
Similarly, remaining in your car is recommended because you may be unaware of the severe car damage and debris at the accident scene. Trying to exit the vehicle without assessing your surroundings may not only put you in danger, but it may also affect other motorists affected by the incident. For example, if peeing your car door does more damage to another accident victim's vehicle, you want to wait until firefighter teams can open up the area.
However, staying in the car may be hazardous sometimes because you are exposed to potential fire hazards. This is common when your gas tank leaks without your knowledge, as it may ignite and explode.
Alternatively, if the body of the car is extremely damaged, staying in one position may strain your muscles and cause fractures due to the pressure coming from compressed vehicle metal. Hence, you want to call for help as soon as possible and have you and other victims evacuated as soon as possible.
If anyone is unconscious or severely hurt in the car, you also want to exit and call for emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Remaining in the car may lower their chances of survival or making a full recovery, which can be detrimental for the victim in question.
Take Pictures or Videos of the Accident Scene Where Possible
If you manage to exit the vehicle, you are also advised to take as many photos and videos of the impact and damage at the scene of the collision. You can rely on your smartphone camera to document the aftermath, provided it displays the footage clearly.
Alternatively, you can request a third party to document the accident scene and send you the files later. You may also record a description of the damage that occurred, provided you provide accurate descriptions for future reference.
Documenting the accident scene is important, as it serves as evidence and as a point of reference when discussing the type of damage you suffered, as well as the appropriate compensation to issue. The footage also comes in handy when trying to determine the liable party. This is because the vehicle positions may be evaluated to determine if someone made a wrong turn or caused a severe impact indicating excessive speed.
Avoid Admitting to Fault or Apologizing
Sometimes, circumstances may compel you to think that you are the liable party at the multiple car crash scene. Subsequently, you may decide to apologize and even request an instant settlement from other involved parties. However, doing so is not recommended, as you may have assessed the situation without the full details.
Later discoveries may indicate that another party was the primary cause of the accident, meaning that your apology and settlement will have been in vain. Later on, trying to retract your admissions will be difficult, as the other parties claiming from you will rely on your statements as evidence of your liability. Hence, you want to remain calm and request the other parties to stay in touch until all information regarding the accident is available.
Collect Contact Information from All Other Parties Involved in the Accident
You also want to ensure that all other accident victims exchange their contact information with you, as remaining in communication is important. When requesting their details be sure to take down their official names, residence, and ID numbers if possible. Although some persons may be uncooperative, you want to explain the importance of keeping in contact calmly to encourage them in providing their details.
Nevertheless, your efforts will not always change the other party’s mind, which is fine. Working with a personal injury attorney gives you a better opportunity to track all persons involved in the car crash by consulting various evidential sources.
Doubtless, some parties may provide inaccurate or fake details to help them avoid you. They often do this when they know they had a role to play in the accident because they do not want the responsibility of paying compensation. Therefore, before exiting the accident scene, ensure that all details provided by other parties are accurate. You can do this by requesting to ring their phones while they are still present to confirm that it rings and that they own the number provided.
Additional information to collect from third parties involved in the multi-vehicle accident is their insurance companies. The details will be essential when contacting their insurance adjusters to negotiate payments or pay-outs, depending on the party at fault. Accident victims who suffer severe injuries can also rely on the third party’s insurance company to cater to their medical expenses, provided they can contact them on time.
Ensure You File Your Police Report
Traffic police officers will arrive at the accident moments after an incident occurs because their guidance and assistance are necessary. Thus, filing a police report at the accident scene is among the crucial steps to take in ensuring you present your narrative of what transpired.
Police reports play a significant role in creating your witness statements, as the court recognized the reports as verified and true. Hence, providing an accurate report is essential because it may help you build a case against the suspected liable party.
Police presence at the accident scene is also important for other factors like ensuring that the accident victims’ belongings remain safe as they seek additional help. For example, you may have to leave your luggage, purse, or other valuable items in a vehicle with broken locks from the accident. Without security from officers, malicious onlookers may take advantage of the situation and tamper with your personal property. Therefore, waiting for police presence at an accident scene is advisable, as they help you remain safe as you provide your report.
Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible
Doubtless, most car accident victims suffer significant injuries after a multi-vehicle crash. Therefore, seeking medical attention should be a priority for all persons in the vehicle. Presenting yourself in an ambulance or hospital nearby is necessary even when you feel fine, as some conditions do not necessarily manifest in physical pain or discomfort.
Not only is seeking medical attention critical for your health, but it also ensures that you follow all recommended steps legally required when seeking compensation for the incident. When you present claims about the nature of injuries sustained after collision in court, the presiding judge and the defense attorney may request further information on the type of treatment, you received.
Having no details to provide may present you as unprepared or irresponsible for your health, reducing your credibility. Consequently, you may be held partially liable for any complications that arose due to the failure to seek immediate treatment. You will ultimately receive lower compensation than anticipated, which may be disadvantageous for you and other affected parties.
Contact Your Personal Injury Attorney
Although your personal injury lawyer may not be close to the accident scene after it occurs, calling them and notifying them of the incident is always helpful. Their knowledge of what occurred will help them prepare for research and assistance in undertaking other crucial legal procedures on your behalf if you require compensation.
Your attorney may also have the chance to send a representative at the scene to document their version of the occurrences and interact with the police to determine the types of reports issued about the accident. This gives you an excellent head start if parties turn to litigation to determine fault and liability.
Moreover, you should remember that your attorney plays a vital role in helping you communicate with your insurance adjuster and the insurance companies serving other persons involved in the accident. Therefore, you do not have to worry about making follow-ups by yourself, as it is often tasking and challenging to reach the companies.
Once your injury lawyer is involved initially, they will also be better at preparing for your court case as you seek compensation from the liable party. This includes filing submissions that align with police statements issued earlier and presenting solid evidential sources.
Find a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
When you or a loved one is involved in a multi-vehicle accident, the outcomes may be shocking and detrimental to their wellbeing. Due to this, it is important to understand what to do soon after you are involved in the accident. This way, you can prepare yourself for the subsequent processes to undertake, as well as the requirements to satisfy. You will also know what to avoid to ensure you do not interfere with your chances of receiving compensation. With Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, you will have a chance to receive personal injury services from some of the best attorneys. We aim to provide legal assistance and representation to clients involved in a multi-vehicle accident and help them receive rightful compensation. For more information on accessing our services, call us today at 904-800-7557.