Multi-Car Accidents – Who’s Responsible?
You’re driving on a slightly chilly but sunny day, and you see a crash ahead of you. You slow down and stop. Then another accident happens involving your car. What happens, and is the other accident ultimately responsible for your accident? Why was the person behind you not paying attention or able to stop? There are common questions that come up after a crash, and in the case of multi-car accidents, there are many more. It’s unclear who is at fault and what should happen to the drivers who weren’t paying attention. A Tampa, Florida car crash attorney may be able to help.
Determining Fault in Florida
Rubbernecking, following too closely and speeding all lend themselves to multi-car accidents happening in one area. However, that doesn’t always mean that the initial crash was the cause of your accident. Although things like rubbernecking are frustrating, it’s not even a legitimate legal complaint. The distraction of not paying attention and the clear carelessness of not paying attention puts that driver at fault most of the time.
However, fault in Florida doesn’t happen the way it does in most states. Florida is one of the few exceptions when it comes to a fault and what is standard. Across most of the U.S., a comparative fault system or a contributory fault system is standard. Florida deviates and uses a no-fault system.
A no-fault accident processing system means that the crash could be someone’s fault, but it could also be the weather’s fault. Or, it could be your fault. The fault doesn’t really matter in Florida, so there’s not this big argument involved in every crash where you try to pin the blame on another driver.
But, it is frustrating the drivers who are truly not at fault to have to file a claim and face the consequences of that process. Filing a claim under PIP insurance for no-fault will often cause your premiums to go up, and depending on the damage could result in points on your license. For someone who did nothing wrong, that seems very unfair.
How Do Multi-Car Accidents Affect PIP?
Your Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, plan will stay take the top spot for your claim. That means you’ll need to file for PIP under your coverage before seeking compensation from any other means.
However, you should look for the final at-fault driver. Why? Your PIP coverage may not be able to take care of all of your medical bills and property damage. Florida is a no-fault state, but you can still pursue legal action in a civil court against the at-fault driver for your remaining damages. Usually, these cases only seek compensation for personal injuries rather than property damage, as well.
Should You Call a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer?
Anyone hurt in a crash should carefully weigh out their options for obtaining full compensation. That means that you should look at the opportunity for full compensation without an attorney. But, you should also look at what an attorney can do for you that would be too difficult to handle yourself.
Attorneys will often process the paperwork on claims, file the lawsuit, issue subpoenas for cell phone information, and contact experts in various fields. These tasks are difficult for everyday people to do, and to know how to handle the charges or fees that come with each action. An attorney, on the other hand, will have a long-standing relationship in place with set fees or charges.
Auto Accident Lawyers in Florida Take a Different Approach
Unlike car accident attorneys in other states, Florida attorneys look for what your insurance company can do for you first. That means changing priorities from focusing on attacking the other driver, to pursuing the max possible compensation from your insurance company. It’s vital that you understand this approach because getting too caught up in deciding who was at fault or who should “pay” can derail your case.
Tampa accident attorneys understand that each case will have its nuances. But in the event of multi-car accidents, there are many more factors to consider.
Winters & Yonker Can Provide Guidance for Victims of Multi-Car Accidents
Winters & Yonker have a well-experienced team of Tampa accident injury attorneys that frequently fight cases like these. If your crash involved more than two vehicles or more than two accidents, it’s important to understand your options.
You may need to seek compensation from unexpected drivers or drivers who were at-fault, although they weren’t specifically the person who hit your vehicle. Only an attorney can provide insight and gain access to the right experts in different areas of concern for your case.