Three-car accidents occur when the rearmost driver is negligent in some way. That driver might be speeding, engaging in distracted driving, or operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The rear driver can cause their vehicle to collide with the rear of another car in a chain-reaction-type collision. However, the driver and passengers who suffer the most severe injuries may be those in the front vehicle.
If you have suffered injuries in a 3-car accident, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can pursue financial recovery from the at-fault, rearmost driver’s insurer. After filing a claim, your lawyer can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If the insurance company will not settle your case favourably, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the Alberta court system for you and bring it to an efficient resolution there. For more information, contact our car accident lawyer.
Common Causes of 3-car Accidents
Multi-vehicle crashes involving three or more vehicles typically occur when the rearmost driver is negligent. A negligent driver does something that a reasonable driver will not do or who fails to do something that a reasonable driver will do under the same or similar circumstances. When drivers behave unreasonably behind the wheel, serious crashes can occur. Common types of driver negligence that can lead to multi-vehicle pile-ups include:
Driver impairment – When drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they’re more likely to cause a crash than sober drivers. Alcohol, in particular, can significantly impact a driver’s reaction time since it slows down brain functioning. A driver under the influence might also experience various physical symptoms, including blurry vision. A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is legally intoxicated. However, even if a driver has a BAC of less than 0.08 percent, they might still suffer the effects of alcohol impairment and cannot operate their vehicle carefully and safely.
Distracted driving – Some drivers become distracted while behind the wheel. Consequently, they may not see another vehicle or pedestrian nearby. A distracted driver is not paying attention to the road. For instance, the driver might be listening to loud music in the car, disciplining young children in the backseat, programming a GPS device, or using a cellular device that does not have Bluetooth capabilities. Even a distraction that lasts for one to two seconds may lead to a severe car crash or pedestrian accident.
Road rage and aggressive driving – A driver engages in road rage when they react inappropriately to an actual or perceived set of circumstances that arises on the road. For example, a driver may become very angry when another driver is not going fast enough for their liking, and as a result, they might tailgate that driver or otherwise act aggressively. In addition to tailgating, common signs of road rage include aggressively weaving in and out of busy highway traffic, honking uncontrollably at other drivers, and failing to use turn signals. These driving maneuvers are hazardous and can lead to a crash—especially in heavy traffic conditions.
Road rule violations – Drivers are responsible for knowing the rules of the road and following them at all times. When drivers speed, fail to use turn signals, or fail to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate times, they increase their likelihood of causing a severe accident.
Proving Your Car Accident Case
To recover monetary compensation in a three-car accident, the injured accident victim has the legal burden of proof. This means that they must establish all of the necessary claim elements. If the accident victim cannot satisfy their legal burden, then they may become ineligible for damages.
In a three-car accident, the accident will need to show that the rearmost driver behaved negligently under the circumstances. They must also demonstrate that this negligence resulted in the subject car crash. In cases where the rear driver was obviously negligent, such as where the driver was intoxicated, then that driver’s insurance company might go ahead and stipulate fault. In any case, the accident victim will still need to demonstrate that they suffered an injury that directly resulted from their collision.
To prove the liability elements of a three-car accident, the accident victim may need to retain an expert investigator. An accident reconstructionist or other investigator can review witness statements and speak with police officers about how the crash happened. They can then piece together who likely caused the collision. The accident victim’s lawyer will need to speak with a healthcare provider who can causally connect the accident victim’s injuries to the crash to prove medical damages.
If you have suffered injuries in a three-car crash, you need a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to represent you throughout your case. Your lawyer can retain the necessary experts to prove the legal elements of your claim. They can then file a settlement demand package and work to negotiate favourable settlement compensation for you.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim Arising From a Three-Car Accident
Victims of three-car crashes in Alberta can suffer severe injuries that leave them in pain and need extensive medical treatment. The injuries that a person may suffer in a three-car crash depend upon the force of the impact, the way their body moves inside the vehicle, and whether or not they strike something in the vehicle.
Generally speaking, the closer the at-fault vehicle is to your vehicle, the more serious the injuries you will suffer. The force of an impact may thrust the accident victim’s body forward or backward, and it might cause a part of the accident victim’s body to strike the headrest, door frame, window, or steering wheel, resulting in an injury.
Common injuries that accident victims suffer in three-car collisions include traumatic brain and head injuries, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, internal injuries, cuts and abrasions, bruises, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis.
A crash victim may also need to follow up with their primary care doctor, seek treatment at a hospital emergency room, undergo medical procedures, or attend physical therapy sessions, in the weeks and months following their accident. It is essential that accident victims obtain medical treatment as soon as they can after the crash and that they treat their injuries continuously.
If there are significant gaps in medical treatment, or if the accident victim self-discharges from care, then the insurance company may become skeptical and award less money to settle the case. Your best bet is to follow through with all recommended medical treatments and wait for a facility to discharge you before ending your treatment.
A car accident lawyer can begin the claims-filing process in your case even while you continue your treatment. First of all, your lawyer can gather up all wage loss documentation, medical records, photographs, and impact statements and assemble them into a demand package. Your lawyer can file the claim as soon as you complete the majority of your treatment.
In addition, your lawyer can prepare and send a settlement demand letter to the insurance company for the at-fault, rearmost driver. This demand letter will request settlement compensation within the limits of available insurance coverage. Once the insurance company receives this documentation, the adjuster will review it thoroughly. They may then make an offer to settle the claim.
You should never accept the first settlement offer that an insurance company adjuster makes. This is because there is almost always more money on the table, and the adjuster will try to resolve your case for as little compensation as possible. After all, the insurance company is a big business and is not looking out for your personal or legal interests. Instead, they are most interested in trying to resolve your case quickly and cheaply.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the adjuster for you and pursue the maximum settlement compensation that is available to you in your case.
Deadline to File a Lawsuit for Damages
If the insurance company adjuster is not willing to compensate you fairly for the injuries you suffered in your three-car accident, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court against the rear driver. However, the driver’s insurance company will pay out any settlement or damages in your case.
Filing a lawsuit begins the litigation process, and it often convinces the insurance company to take the case more seriously. In Alberta, accident victims only have two years from the date of their car accident to file a lawsuit. If the accident victim does not sue within those two years, they will not be eligible to recover damages for their injuries at any later point. Therefore, the sooner you get a personal injury lawyer involved in your case, the better off you will be.
If the statute of limitations deadline in your case is right around the corner, your lawyer can file suit right away to protect your legal right to compensation. Even after filing a lawsuit, your lawyer can still settle the case with the insurance company if the adjuster makes a reasonable offer. Your lawyer can also help you decide whether to settle your case or file a lawsuit and litigate it in the court system.
Potential Monetary Compensation in a 3-car Accident Case
Victims of three-car crashes can recover monetary compensation based upon the extent of their injuries—and whether or not they suffered a permanent injury in their collision. Many accident victims suffer such severe injuries that they cannot return to work for an extended time.
Under those circumstances, an accident victim can bring a claim for lost wages or loss of earning capacity. To prove lost wages, the accident victim will typically need documentation from their employer that shows the number of days they missed and how much they were making per hour, week, or month. They must also typically show documentation from a healthcare provider that authorizes them to take time off work after their accident.
In cases where an accident victim can no longer return to the same job or industry as before their accident—due to the injuries they suffered—they might file a claim for loss of earning capacity. This is especially true if the car crash victim has to take a pay cut at their new job.
In addition to their wage loss claim, a car accident victim can recover compensation for their mental distress, pain and suffering, and inconvenience. If their quality of life declines after their car accident, they can bring a claim for loss of life enjoyment.
For example, the car accident victim’s injuries might prevent them from participating in the same social and recreational activities they enjoyed before their accident. In addition, if they suffered a spinal cord injury, paralysis injury, or some other permanent impairment that limits the use of their body, they can bring a loss of use claim. Finally, car accident victims can file a claim for loss of spousal companionship, consortium, and family support.
Suppose you suffered injuries in a three-car accident that resulted from driver negligence. In that case, your lawyer will zealously advocate on your behalf and help you to maximize the compensation that you recover in your car accident case—either through a settlement, jury verdict, or arbitration award.
Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer Near You Today
Victims of three-car crashes are often unsure of where to go or what to do next following their accident. While you can represent yourself in your claim, it is never a good idea, especially in a three-car accident. You might need to file claims against multiple parties, and this process can be overwhelming. Insurance companies take advantage of claimants who try to handle their claims alone.
An experienced car accident lawyer in your area can address all of your legal concerns and explain your options. In addition to investigating the cause and circumstances of the accident, your lawyer can retain all of the necessary experts, file a claim or lawsuit in court for you, and pursue the damages you deserve to recover for your accident-related injuries. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.