multi car accidents

Experienced Kansas City Multi-Car Accident Lawyers

Seasoned counsel when three or more vehicles collide in MO or KS

Accidents involving more than two cars are very complex. There are usually multiple plaintiffs and multiple defendants. This means multiple lawsuits or involved lawsuits where everyone says it was another driver’s fault. Many multiple-vehicle crashes involve a chain reaction where the first car strikes a second car, and the second car strikes a third car. Multiple vehicle accidents can involve multiple independent accidents such as where one driver is speeding, and another driver is intoxicated.

At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our skilled car accident lawyers understand how to handle these complex cases. We work to show how the accident happened, and which driver or drivers caused your injuries. We understand how to negotiate with more than one insurance company. If necessary, we are skilled at persuasively arguing your multi-vehicle accident case to a jury. Contact us in Missouri or Kansas today to learn more about our services.

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How is the sequence of a multi-car accident determined?

At Kansas City Accident Insurance Attorneys, we send investigators to the scene of the accident to help assess how the accident happened, and who is responsible. The investigators examine the accident site, the damage to the vehicles, and speak to any witnesses. We also question the defendants and witnesses during the discovery phase. If necessary, we consult with traffic reconstruction experts who can also determine how the chain reaction or series of collisions occurred.

Traffic reconstruction experts often use engineering principles and computer graphics to show the sequence of collisions, what happened to the car occupants and the cars after each collision, and what traffic conditions may have led to the collisions.

We also examine the damage to each vehicle. The location and severity of the damages are often a clear indicator of fault.

What are the causes of multi-car accidents?

One of the leading causes of multi-car accidents is driver negligence. Speeding, distracted driving, reckless driving and aggressive driving can all lead to a pileup. Sometimes, however, multi-vehicle wrecks are caused by a combination of driver negligence and outside forces, such as:

How is fault assessed in Kansas City multi-vehicle accident cases?

Consider these scenarios:

  1. Car A is speeding or driving while distracted. Car A strikes Car B who is properly stopped at a traffic light, waiting for the light to turn green. The force of the collision between these two cars causes Car B to rear-end Car C, who is the first in line at the traffic light, also waiting for the light to turn green.
  2. Car A makes an improper left-hand turn in front of Car B. The driver of Car B was talking on his cellphone at the time Car A turned and didn’t notice the car. As a result of the collision between Car A and Car B, Car B spins around and strikes Car C.

In the first scenario, Car A is responsible for both collisions. Car A’s insurance company should pay for any damages caused, and for any injuries to the occupants of Car B and Car C.

But how do insurance adjusters and juries analyze the crash between Car A, who made an illegal left-hand turn, and Car B, who drove while distracted – and Car C who did nothing wrong?

The answer is the doctrine of “comparative negligence,” which both Missouri and Kansas follow. Comparative negligence means that if you are found at fault for your own injuries, your award will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. In Missouri, which follows a “pure” comparative negligence doctrine, you could be 99% at fault, and still recover 1% of your damages.  In Kansas, you could be barred from recovery if you are found 50% or more at-fault.

So, how does that shake out in a multi-car crash? Let’s assume that in each scenario, all three vehicles had no passengers, and each driver sustained $100,000 in losses and there is $100,000.00 in available insurance coverage.

In Missouri:

  • If Car A is found 100% liable, then both Car B and Car C should receive their full awards ($100,000), and Car A will receive nothing.
  • If Car A and Car B are each found 50% liable, then they will collect 50% of their award ($50,000) and Car C will collect 100% of the award ($100,000).
  • If Car A is found 80% liable and Bar B is found 20% liable, Car A will’s award will be reduced by 80% (to $20,000) and Car B’s award will be reduced by 20% (to $80,000), whereas Car C will collect the entire award ($100,000).

In Kansas:

  • If Car A and Car B are each found 50% liable, then they will be denied compensation, and Car C will collect the entire award ($100,000).
  • If Car A is found 80% liable and Bar B is found 20% liable, Car A will be denied compensation, Car B’s award will be reduced by 20% (to $80,000), and Car C will collect the entire award. ($100,000).

This is why you want an experienced car accident attorney on your side if you are injured in a multi-car pileup – especially if that wreck involves tractor-trailers or other commercial vehicles. Many potential liable parties mean many insurance companies – and a lot of finger pointing to avoid fault and liability. We can help.

What additional factors make multi-vehicle accidents so difficult?

Some of the additional issues that skilled our Kansas City-based personal injury lawyers need to consider in multi-vehicle accidents include:

  • What happens if one of the responsible drivers doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance? Generally, the answer is that you can then file a claim with your UM/UIM carrier. Another possibility is that even though one defendant (driver A) may be only minimally responsible, another defendant (driver B) still may have to pay all your damages and then seek reimbursement from the other defendant (driver A) – on the basis of another legal doctrine called “joint and several liability.”
  • What happens if there are passengers? This adds another layer of complexity to the claims because a passenger may have valid claims against all the drivers.
  • Are all the claims tried in one case or in separate cases? Your lawyer can explain what happens. Normally, all cases will be decided in one case – but the issue can get very complicated if there are a lot of plaintiffs and a lot of defendants.

Do you have a car accident injury attorney near me?

Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys is located at 510 Walnut Street, not far from City Hall. We also maintain five additional locations throughout Missouri and Kansas.

Injured in a multi-vehicle accident? Our Kansas City car accidents lawyers are ready to help

At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our car accident lawyers handle the tough cases. We are skilled at investigating accidents, showing how they happened, determining who should be held accountable, and showing just how life-changing your injuries are. We represent families when a loved one tragically dies in a multi-car accident or accidents involving one or two vehicles.

To discuss your rights, call us at 816-290-7621, begin a live chat today, or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation. Our main office is in Kansas City. We represent clients across Kansas and Missouri. Our firm has offices in Lee’s Summit, St. Joseph, and Parkville, MO, and in Overland Park and Olathe, KS available by appointment.