Four Car Pile Up on the Highway...

by Tired of Dealing
(South Texas, USA.)

I was recently in a 4 car pile up wreck on the highway in Texas. What happened is that the guy who caused the whole wreck didn't properly attach a trailer to his hitch on his truck and it fell off on the highway; the second car hit the trailer back into the first guys truck; I ran into the back of the 2nd guy's car and totaled both of our cars and I'm not sure where the fourth guy fit in but he is party to the pile up.

My question is: Who is at fault? Is it the first guy who didn't properly fasten his trailer? Or is each person responsible for the people they rear ended? Should I get a lawyer?

The people in the 2nd car appeared to be fine and were walking around and talking but as soon as the ambulance arrived, they were carried off in stretchers. This is so frustrating and my insurance agents don't seem to know how to answer me. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Four Car Pile Up on the Highway...":

Tired of Dealing (Texas, USA):

These auto collisions have presented problems for as many years as cars and trucks have been on the road and insured.

There is no doubt the first driver has substantial liability for his negligence, whether purposeful or not. The complications begin with each subsequent driver. Traditionally, vehicles following behind other vehicles are required to remain at least one car length behind for every 10 miles per hour.

There is a possibility the “at-fault” driver’s liability will be contested by his attorneys using the one car length for every 10 miles per hour distance as a defense. From the facts you present no one was ticketed by the local police or DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety). If the at-fault driver was ticketed, such ticketing would inure to each subsequent driver’s benefit.

Let’s talk about how the at-fault driver’s insurance will relate to each subsequent vehicle...

The minimum insurance requirements under Texas Law for a passenger vehicle are 25/50/25. Translated that means $25,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.

If the at-fault driver had the minimum liability limits there would be up to $50,000 dollars available for the injuries of any number of injured persons.

In your case you apparently did not suffer personal injuries but did suffer property damage to your vehicle. The problem is, so did the other drivers. Excepting the at-fault driver’s vehicle there were apparently three other damaged vehicles.

Under Texas Insurance Law the $25,000 dollars available under the at-fault driver’s property damage coverage is the maximum amount of money available to pay for all three subsequent vehicles’ property damage. These days any amount of property damage to any vehicle can cost substantial amounts of money to repair.

We suggest at least two options:

The way insurance companies work when it comes to multiple party property damage it is “first come-first served”. So the faster you can have the Adjuster look at your vehicle and authorize repairs the better chance you will have of there being enough money to pay for your vehicle’s repairs. Once the other drivers start demanding money, the $25,000 dollars will quickly begin to run out.

We next suggest you find out what policy limits the at-fault driver has. You should know so you can be sure there will be enough to cover the repairs to your vehicle.

In these types of multiple party cases it is always a good idea to at least consult with a skilled Personal Injury Attorney. Most will not charge you anything for an initial office consultation. You will leave with some peace of mind.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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