Highway accidents that involve multiple cars, trucks, and/or SUVs can be complex matters if you're injured in one. Getting just compensation for the harm you've endured means doing a very prompt and very thorough investigation of the crash, and then understanding how to interpret that evidence in terms of determining who's liable to you. When facing challenges like this, it pays to rely on an experienced Santa Barbara car accident lawyer.
A tragic accident to our east is an illustration of just how complex highway accidents can be.
A 50-year-old man was driving a pickup truck on Highway 101 northbound when the driver of a Ford F550 (a commercial-grade pickup truck) rear-ended him. Eventually, three more vehicles became involved in the pileup. The lead vehicle in the group caught fire and the driver was unable to escape, dying at the scene.
The California Highway Patrol's investigation concluded that drugs and/or alcohol likely weren't factors but that the Ford driver was traveling at speeds exceeding 65 mph. The driver was charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter.
In this case, the deceased man's estate may have claims against the Ford driver in civil court and/or against the Ford driver's auto insurer. It's possible that the Ford driver could be 100% at fault in the crash, especially if the evidence shows that the latter three drivers could not reasonably be expected to stop in time.
A Multi-Vehicle Crash Means a Multitude of Liability Possibilities
Many times, though, multi-vehicle crashes may involve more complicated splits in terms of who's liable for the harm you suffered. Take, for example, a hypothetical four-vehicle rear-end crash that occurred due to traffic congestion and where you suffered substantial injuries while inside the lead vehicle of the group.
If the evidence indicated that the second and third cars properly stopped but that the fourth driver negligently failed to spot the stopped traffic and slammed into the third vehicle, pushing it into the second, and the second into your vehicle, then it's possible the driver of the fourth vehicle is the sole driver with liability. However, say each of the second, third, and fourth drivers were speeding and, as a result, the second rear-ended you, then the third rear-ended the second, and the fourth rear-ended the third (in chain-reaction style,) it's possible that each of them has some degree of liability for the injuries you suffered in the crash.
Alternately, different facts derived from different evidence could point toward liability being split between the second and fourth drivers (and the third driver being 0% to blame,) or the third and fourth drivers being negligent and potentially liable with the second driver being 0% at fault.
From your perspective, though, you likely don't know how the vehicle behind you came to hit you, you just know they did and that you're hurt. That's where the right legal team becomes so valuable. The skilled Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP know the importance of obtaining all the evidence, and getting it as soon as possible. That's why you can count on our team to get started right away, obtaining the essential proof necessary to identify who owes you compensation and what damages you're entitled to recover. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.