What are multi-car accidents?
Crashes involving multiple cars in Georgia can be extremely dangerous–especially when they involve tractor-trailers. Because there are more than two cars or trucks in these accidents, there is more than one impact that can cause damage and injuries to the drivers and passengers involved. Unfortunately, the injuries from these accidents can be serious, or even fatal. That’s why people injured in these accidents need a multi-vehicle car accident attorney in Atlanta who specializes in cases with three or more drivers.
In Georgia, multiple car accidents happen all too often. In 2017, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported 17,164 people died nationwide in multiple vehicle crashes with 725 of those fatalities happening in Georgia. Multi-car crashes happen on congested interstates like I‑20, I-85, and I-285, but also in other busy roadways like State Road 316 and Highway 78. These accidents are not just dangerous to the people involved. Crashes involving three or more cars are more likely to block roadways entirely. The congestion they cause can lead to additional car accidents involving the cars driving up to the scene.
Cases stemming from multi-car accidents require lawyers with experience handling a variety of complex issues. To start, lawyers must be able to establish how the accident occurred, who was at fault, how much insurance each driver has, and what legal issues might apply to claims against each driver at fault for the crash.
Which driver is at fault in a multi-vehicle car accident?
In a two-car crash, fault is limited to the two drivers involved. Either one, the other, or a combination of the two are at fault for the crash. In accidents involving three or more cars or trucks, a jury can assign fault to any of the drivers. In Georgia, this process is called apportionment.
Take this for example: a car, an SUV, and a tractor-trailer truck are involved in a multi-vehicle crash and the car driver is injured. A jury can assign fault for the crash to any of the three drivers. They can decide the SUV driver was 40% at fault and the truck driver was 60% at fault for causing the crash and the car driver’s injuries.
However, in assigning fault to the other drivers, a jury can also find the injured car driver was at fault to some degree for the crash. Georgia law says that if the driver bringing the lawsuit to recover for her injuries is more responsible or at fault for the accident, she cannot recover. For example, if the jury finds the injured car driver 50% at fault for the crash, she cannot recover any money from the SUV driver or the truck driver.