How to Handle Multi-Vehicle Accident Claims

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, auto accidents involving several vehicles accounts for one third of the nearly six million annual motor vehicle accidents that takes place inside the United States[1]. The odds increases that a death will result when the motor vehicle incident is a multi-vehicle collision. 

Before You Go on the Road, Get Adequate Insurance Coverage

Obtaining adequate auto insurance is a very important step in owning a motor vehicle. Auto insurance can protect you from irreversible financial and property loss, should you be involved in a car accident. Auto insurance establishes a contract between yourself and an insurance company wherein you pay a fee in return for protection from losses.

Preparing a Claim in a Multi-vehicle Collision

As best you can, start documenting important details about the other vehicles involved in the incident such as the time and location of the accident, the other drivers’ names, license numbers, insurance companies, and contact information. If the police are on the scene, take their name and badge number. If possible, use your cell phone or smart phone to take as many pictures as possible. Get pictures of the medical personnel on the scene; during this part of the documentation process, note all of the auto injuries. Try to get help from as many people at the scene as possible by asking them to serve as witnesses.

Functions of the Insurance Provider

After documenting everything about the accident scene, your next step is to report the accident by filing a claim with your insurance company. Soon after filing your claim, it is customary for your insurance company to contact you by phone to determine whether you were at fault or someone else was at fault. It is supposed to be the job of your insurance company to indemnify you or make you whole again. The insurance company also determines if the others involved in the accident will reimburse you. Rules regarding proving fault and how a settlement should be divvied up differ on a state-by-state basis.

The payout for claims involving a multi-vehicle collision is usually higher than a two-vehicle collision. The investigation of a multi-vehicle collision is much more extensive, as the responsible driver will almost never admit fault. The investigator will be looking for witnesses to interview, photos taken of the accident, and the police officers who responded to the scene.

The Legal Process for Claim Disputes

Multi-collision incidents very often end up going through the legal process, as most auto insurance company will refuse to provide insurance to a claimant.

When insurance companies cannot resolve a claim dispute, the case can goes to Arbitration Forums, a membership driven, non-profit organization, for a judgment. Thus, having an auto accident attorney is key, since such is a legal matter in an adversarial context. An auto accident attorney can handle or prevent deception by auto insurance companies that are looking avoiding paying a claim. Anyone fighting for a claim could feasibly need to face a team of attorneys on the payroll of the auto insurance company, so they’ll need someone proficient in personal injury law to handle the extensive legwork that is likely to be involved.

In the case of multi-vehicle collisions where the at-fault driver is not easily apparent, it is often advisable to file a claim against each driver involved. This is for the legally strategic purpose of causing several auto insurance companies to extend their resources to the investigation, which will increase the odds of additional evidence arising from the scene.

[1] www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811856.pdf

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