Chain Reaction Car Accidents: Who’s At Fault?
Car accidents are frustrating enough to deal with when only one other driver is involved, but they get exponentially more difficult when two, three, four, or more cars are involved.
Like accidents that only involve one other car, chain reaction car accidents can happen for a wide variety of reasons, including driving too closely to other vehicles, defective cars, speeding, and distracted driving. Bad weather is another major cause of these kinds of accidents. Here in Michigan, reports of large, multi-car pile-ups will inevitably come every winter on days with sudden snow squalls or in areas of the state that get lots of lake-effect snow. But regardless of what causes a multi-car accident, who’s liable when they happen?
Since Michigan is currently a no-fault state, this actually helps make things a little more straightforward for victims of multi-car accidents. Under Michigan’s no-fault law, people involved in car accidents make claims for their injuries and damages through their own auto insurance policies regardless of who was at fault. This applies whether a car accident involves two cars or twenty. Passengers in cars involved in a multi-car accident can make a claim through their own insurance, or if they don’t have a no-fault insurance policy, they can make a claim through the driver’s policy.
No-fault auto insurance laws are intended to help people get the help they need more quickly and to reduce the amount of lawsuits over car accidents in the court system. If you are injured in a car accident, you need to go through your own insurance to recover for damages first, not the at-fault driver. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver is impossible.
In Michigan, lawsuits can be filed against another driver involved in an accident under certain circumstances. The other driver needs to have caused the accident through negligence and the accident needs to have caused death, permanent and serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of a body’s function. In the case of an accident causing death, a wrongful death suit could be filed. For accidents causing disfigurement or serious injury, the lawsuit could include non-monetary damages like pain and suffering.
If you’re injured in a multi-car accident, it’s extremely important to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Since determining fault is a lot more complicated when several drivers are involved, a lawyer will be able to help make sure your case is handled appropriately. Even if you don’t think you’ll be filing a lawsuit against another driver, a lawyer will be able to help you make sure you receive all of the benefits you’re entitled to under Michigan no-fault law. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have attorneys who are highly experienced in handling cases related to car accidents and Michigan no-fault benefits. Contact us to see how we can help you.