Multi-vehicle accidents often occur on highways or other roadways with many vehicles closely packed together. When multiple vehicles are involved in a crash, establishing causation can be a difficult task. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, a rear-end crash can cause one vehicle to push forward and rear-end the vehicle in front of it. On other occasions, a single vehicle may suffer damage from an initial accident that worsens after a second accident. In these situations, it can be hard to determine who is at fault for the accident.
As a recent news article reported, a 3-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck left one woman dead and four people injured in Cass County, Michigan. The deceased was slowing down on the highway to make a turn when another driver crashed into the back of her vehicle. Then, a semi-truck also crashed into the deceased’s car, pushing her car into oncoming traffic. She was pronounced dead at the scene. As a result of the semi-truck crash, the other car veered off the road and rolled onto its side. The driver and three passengers were hospitalized for their injuries.
What are the Causes of a Multi-Vehicle Accident?
Various factors may contribute to a multi-vehicle accident. For example, a driver could be distracted or even be driving under the influence. This initial act of carelessness could set off a chain of accidents, particularly on a busy roadway. At the same time, not all multi-vehicle accidents result from a driver’s carelessness. Inclement weather, unsafe road conditions, or a lack of proper traffic signs can all contribute to the likelihood of a multi-vehicle accident.
These variable causes of multi-vehicle accidents can complicate proof of causation in a negligence lawsuit. To bring a successful negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove that each defendant’s carelessness caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This can prove complex when multiple vehicles are involved. For example, a driver who rear-ends another vehicle may have failed to pay attention to the road, but another driver involved in the crash may have failed to use a turn signal. In this case, multiple drivers may have been at fault for the crash. To establish causation, it is important to examine the actions of each driver involved in the crash.
How Does Michigan Law Allocate Fault in a Multi-Vehicle Accident?
When assigning fault to each party, Michigan law uses a system of several liability. Under this scheme, each defendant is only responsible for a damages award proportionate to their amount of fault for the accident. For example, if a defendant is 20% at fault for the accident, that defendant only has to pay 20% of the damages amount the plaintiff is seeking. While Michigan does not bar an at-fault plaintiff from recovering any damages, the law does reduce a plaintiff’s damages award based on the plaintiff’s level of fault. For example, if the plaintiff is 10% at fault for the accident, a jury or judge will reduce the plaintiff’s damages award by 10%.
Have You Been Injured in a Michigan Multi-Vehicle Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Michigan multi-vehicle accident, contact the Neumann Law group to talk through your options. Our experienced Michigan personal injury attorneys understand the complex issues of causation that arise in multi-vehicle accidents. Through our skilled representation, we will gather evidence and develop a strategic plan to help secure the compensation you deserve. Call the Neumann Law Group at 800-525-6386 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.