Pile Up Car Accident
Pile up accidents are frequent forms of car, truck and SUV accidents in Seattle and Kirkland, especially when they occur on a highway or when the pile up occurs on a freeway or interstate. They are also common when someone stops suddenly in heavy traffic or when there are snowy or icy conditions. There are many incidents where a pile up car accident occurs in Seattle and Kirkland. There are special considerations that must be taken into account when pursuing a pile-up car accident case.Washington State Pile Up Car Accident Laws
In Washington state, drivers have a duty to maintain a safe distance and make sure that they are not following too close or tailgating another driver. What is a safe car length? Typically, two to three car lengths is advisable. The most common reasons for pile up car accidents are attributable to drivers who do not give other drivers enough space, especially in bad weather, whether that is icy or snowy conditions. Snowy and icy conditions often lead to pile up car accidents, especially when cars are traveling too fast for conditions. These accidents can lead to serious injuries.
While it may seem obvious when you are rear-ended that another driver caused your injuries, there are occasions when the other car insurance company will attempt to blame you for the accident. In order to prevail in a car accident case, you must do the following:
- Prove a duty existed
- Prove the driver who hit you breached their duty
- Prove you have damages
- Prove that your damages were caused by the driver’s breach of their duty
In many pile-up car accidents, weather is a contributing factor to the accident. In some cases, the driver who caused the accident may attempt to argue that the reason for the accident was beyond their control and the result of bad weather or an act of God. This argument is almost always invalid, but it is attempted on occasion.
There is another factor to consider in pile-up car accidents as well. This additional factor is an insurance problem that one can face in these kinds of cases. In any kind of accident, there always insurance considerations. Insurance normally exists in every kind of car, truck, or SUV accident case. In Washington, the minimum a driver has to have to be on the road is $25,000. However, a driver can purchase additional insurance if they choose. There are umbrella policies that exceed one million dollars and policies in between the minimum and the million.
The maximum amount of insurance available is called the policy limit, meaning this is the most amount an insurance company legally has to pay on any given claim. For example, if you are in an accident with someone and end up with $50,000 in medical bills and the person who caused the accident only has $25,000 in insurance available—in other words, if $25,000 is the policy limit—then the most amount of money that the at-fault driver’s insurance company has to pay is $25,000.
It might seem unfair, especially when your medical bills far exceed the amount of insurance available, but that is the law, unfortunately. This does not preclude you from pursuing the at-fault driver for the excess money you are owed. Thus, in the above example, you are free to sue the at-fault driver for the $25,000 for your medical bills, plus whatever wage loss you have, if any, and for the amount of your pain and suffering, regardless of what this is. However, you need to be aware that it can be very difficult to obtain money that is above and beyond the insurance policy limit amount, but it is certainly a possibility.
Given this, you might see why pileup car accidents make it difficult to obtain a large recovery, even if you are badly injured. The reason this is the case is because the at-fault driver might be responsible for the entire pile-up accident, but if the driver only has a $25,000 policy and there are multiple people who have been injured in the crash, there is obviously not going to be enough insurance to cover everyone’s damages.
If this situation has happened to you, you may only have one realistic and viable option to obtain a recovery, and that is to make a claim through your own insurance company. This kind of claim is called a UIM claim, or an Uninsured Motorist Claim. When you make a claim with your own car insurance company, it is just like suing the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can keep your car insurance; they cannot raise your rates or retaliate against you. But even though it is your own insurance company, the process is still adversarial in nature, meaning your own insurance company will attempt to have you lose your case. In pile-up car accidents, where there are many accidents caused by one at-fault driver, this may very well be your only option.Common Pile-Up Car Accident Injuries
If you have been in a pile-up car accident, chances are high that you have been badly injured. You should seek medical care immediately to treat your injuries. Some of the most common injuries are:
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Headaches and migraines
If you have suffered any of these injuries, you would be well advised to seek medical care from a medical doctor, a chiropractor, massage therapist, or specialist who can address your particular complaints.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
If you have been in a serious pile up car accident, you likely have a lot of questions about how to handle your case and where it is headed. Your options may seem limited and you may be confused about what your car insurance company, and the at-fault driver’s car insurance company, is telling you about your options. You may not be made aware of what your options include in terms of what you are allowed to receive under the law. You are allowed to receive:
- Money for your medical bills
- Money for your lost wages
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for out of pocket expenses
Typically, the insurance company for the driver who hit you will not be forthcoming in offering money for any of these things, but legally, under Washington State law, they are required to do so. If you need assistant obtaining the compensation you’re owed, or if you have questions about your claim, feel free to call The Jackman Law Firm for a free consultation.