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Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Last month in Landover, a woman was tragically killed in a multi-vehicle accident that involved a total of nine cars. The pile-up occurred after a driver, who was speeding and driving recklessly, struck the victim’s car, causing both vehicles to crash into seven other nearby vehicles. The victim was immediately transported to the nearest hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Three other people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Causes of Multi-car Pile-ups

There are a variety of causes that can contribute to a multi-car pile-up. The most common causes include:

• Tailgating;

• Low visibility;

• Road hazards;

• Speed;

• Unsafe lane changes;

• Inattention; and

• Intoxication.

Proving Fault

Whatever the cause, identifying the negligent party who caused the accident is extremely difficult in multi-vehicle accidents. Fortunately, there are a number of sources that can help investigators establish the order of impacts and identify the at-fault parties. When someone is involved in a multi-car pile-up, it is important to obtain:

• Eyewitness accounts;

• Police reports;

• Evidence of the extent of the vehicle’s damage; and

• Photographs of evidence located at the scene of the accident, such as skid marks or debris.

Establishing Liability

Liability in cases where more than two cars were involved in an accident can be difficult to ascertain. While one person’s negligence or recklessness may be responsible for the initial impact, it is also possible that a driver of another vehicle contributed through his or her own behavior.

In Maryland, fault is based on the theory of contributory negligence. This means that if a victim contributed in any way to an accident through a negligent act, he or she would be barred from obtaining compensation. Even if a victim is only one percent at fault, he or she would still be unable to recover.

Insurance

Fortunately, in Maryland, drivers are required to carry insurance policies that, at a minimum, include:

• $60,000 in coverage for injuries or deaths of multiple people in a single accident;

• $30,000 for the injury or death of a single person; and

• $15,000 for any property damage.

These minimum standards offer some protection to parties involved in a multi-car accident who would otherwise be barred from recovery by the theory of contributory negligence. The required coverage ensures that medical bills will be at least partially covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance. Drivers may also carry additional coverage beyond that set by the state that will cover uncompensated costs.

Insurance providers in Maryland are all required to include uninsured coverage in their policies. In the event that a person is involved in an accident with a driver who is at-fault, but does not have insurance or is underinsured, the victim’s insurance company will cover the amount of any unpaid costs.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

At the Law Office of Robert R. Castro, our Charles County, Maryland personal injury attorneys have extensive experience representing clients who have been injured in car accidents in the state of Maryland. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, please contact us today, at 301-804-2312, for a free consultation.

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