Who Is Liable for a Multi-Vehicle Collision?

Multi-vehicle car accidents, also known as multi-car crashes, can be particularly challenging when it comes to determining liability. These types of crashes are common on busy highways and intersections. Take Route 67, the College Ave roundabout, or the Berm highway. Areas like these are ripe for multi-vehicle accidents, not to mention the numerous accidents that occur in nearby St. Louis.

In Illinois, pursuing liability in these complex cases requires a thorough understanding of the legal framework and a strategic approach. If you are involved in such a crash, it is critical to seek the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure that you are compensated for your injuries, pain, and suffering.

What is a multi-vehicle accident?

Multi-vehicle accidents involve three or more vehicles and often result in significant damage and injuries to multiple individuals. These accidents can occur due to a variety of factors, including distracted driving, driver fatigue, adverse weather conditions, or any other negligent or unlawful behavior on the part of the drivers involved.

In 2022, Madison County alone saw 37 car accident fatalities, up nine deaths from the previous year. St. Clair County had 47 fatalities, up seven deaths from the year before. The total number of fatalities for the entire year was 1,269. As of this writing, there have been 374 fatal car accidents in the entire state of Illinois, with 405 fatalities.

How does a lawyer determine who is liable for the multi-car accident?

There are several steps to take in order to begin determining liability so that you can receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. An experienced car accident attorney can help you with all of these steps, as the legal process can be challenging.

These steps include:

  • Considering contributing factors. Analyze all factors that may have contributed to the accident. This includes factors such as distracted driving, speeding, reckless behavior, weather conditions, road hazards, and any mechanical failures. Identifying these factors can help establish negligence on the part of the responsible parties.
  • Assessing witness statements: Interview witnesses and obtain their accounts of the accident. Their statements can provide crucial insight into how the accident occurred and who may be at fault.
  • Consulting an accident reconstruction expert. In complex cases, it may be necessary to consult an accident reconstruction expert. These professionals analyze the evidence, including skid marks, vehicle damage, and witness statements, to reconstruct the sequence of events leading to the accident. Their expert opinion can help determine liability based on scientific analysis.
  • Notifying your insurance company. We can inform your insurance company about the accident and provide them with accurate information, so you never have to deal directly with them. (As a rule, you should be cautious when speaking with insurance adjusters – even form your own insurer – and avoid admitting fault or providing a recorded statement without consulting an attorney.)
  • Pursuing a lawsuit if needed. If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit to pursue liability. They will guide you through the legal process, presenting a strong case on your behalf and advocating for your rights.

And if you’re wondering what you can do to help your car crash claim, here are some steps you can take:

  • Seek medical attention. Your health and well-being should be your top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident. Not only is this essential for your recovery, but it also creates a record of your injuries, which can be important for your legal case.
  • Gather evidence. Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene. Take photographs of the vehicles involved, the surrounding environment, and any visible damages or road conditions. Obtain contact information from witnesses who can provide statements about what they observed.
  • Report the accident. Contact the police and report the accident. A police report will provide an official record of the incident, documenting the details and potentially determining any traffic violations or negligence.
  • Consult an experienced car accident attorney. Engage the services of a skilled car accident attorney who only represents plaintiffs. They will have the expertise to navigate the complexities of these cases, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve. An attorney can help investigate the accident, gather evidence, assess liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your interests in court if necessary.

Remember, time is of the essence when pursuing liability in multi-vehicle accidents. In Illinois, the statute of limitations typically allows two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the crash occurred in Missouri, you may have up to five years.

Note: Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence system. This means that each party involved in the accident can be assigned a percentage of fault based on their actions leading up to the crash, up to 50%. Even if you are partially at fault, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries, but the amount awarded will be reduced according to your assigned percentage of fault. (It’s slightly different in Missouri, which follows a pure comparative model.)

If you have been involved in a multi-vehicle car accident, the skilled attorneys and legal team at Glisson Law are here to assist you. We have over 30 years of knowledge and experience to handle these complex cases and will fight vigorously to protect your interests. Call us in Alton, or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options. Glisson Law is based in Alton and proudly serves clients in Belleville, Edwardsville, St. Clair and Madison Counties, and throughout Illinois and Missouri.