According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents claim 40,327 lives each year. Multi-vehicle crashes increase the chance of death or serious injury. When these accidents occur, deciding which insurance policies pay for damages is a difficult task. Insurance adjusters use a number of criteria to determine who is at fault in a multi-vehicle crash.
Police and Witness Observations
Responding law enforcement officials obtain statements from people involved in the accident. If passersby happened to witness the events, their testimony is taken as well. Law enforcement agents also provide their own summary of what they observed while on the scene. Insurance adjusters use these records to piece together a timeline of the accident.
Photographic evidence provided by witnesses and law enforcement is an integral part of understanding fault in a multi-vehicle crash. Adjusters use them to confirm eye witness testimony and provide a visual reference as they create a mental picture of the event.
Adjusters often visit the scene of the accident. This allows them to assess the area for natural hazards and get a better understanding of the mechanics of the accident. Police forensic details like field sobriety tests or items found in the vehicles are also used to reconstruct the accident.
Possible Outcomes in Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Once the investigation is complete, adjusters may come to one of several conclusions.
- One person may be found as the single catalyzing factor in the accident.
- Multiple drivers may be at fault for causing the crash.
- An event or person in the area of the accident caused a problem that triggered the accident.
- Mechanical failure, weather, or road conditions can also be considered the reason for an accident.
Protect Yourself in a Multi-Vehicle Crash
With over 6 million reported incidents each year, it’s likely you’ll be involved in an accident. Use these tips to protect your own interests if you fall victim to a multi-vehicle car crash.
- Take pictures of all the cars and damages. Include license plate numbers for easy reference.
- If possible, talk to the drivers involved in the accident. Get their insurance information and offer them yours as well.
- Do not leave the scene until law enforcement clears you to do so.
Call your insurance provider before leaving the scene of the accident to ensure you don’t miss any important details.