Liability of last car in a 6-car pile up?

by Anonymous

I recently got in a 6 car pile up accident in California. My car was the last car. The 5th car had already hit the 4th car even before I rear ended it. The police investigation reported the 3rd car to be at main fault, and the 5th and 6th car (my car) as associated factors.

The person sitting in the back seat of the car I rear ended (5th car), got injured enough to be treated in the ICU. She was there for almost 4 weeks I think. She was not wearing a seat belt.

I am not sure if the injury was caused by them hitting the front car or me rear ending their car. Probably a combination. But after the accident, I was able to open the trunk of the 5th car to help them get their stroller (it was undamaged, no kids were in the car, the stroller was for the elderly).

My insurance policy covers Bodily Injury only up to $15,000. I am really nervous about this and stressed that I might get a medical bill for $200k. What happens in cases like this? Who pays for what? Does the burden rest only on the 3 cars that were determined to be at fault? The insurance companies are still working things out. But they did say that the person in the 5th car has hired a lawyer. What can I do? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Liability of last car in a 6-car pile up?":

Anonymous (CA):

You are in a precarious position. In most cases, once the amount of a person’s liability insurance has been exhausted (after payment for a victim’s injuries), the victim normally doesn’t pursue the insured for additional monies. That is not always the case.

Unfortunately, if you have substantial assets, such as stocks, bonds, art, antique collections, and/or other assets which can be liquidated, the victim may pursue you for medical bills up and above the $15,000.00 available to them through your insurance.

If you do have substantial assets, you should consider retaining an attorney to protect you. The attorney may be able to transfer those assets to a third party such as a family member or close friend, or your attorney might consider establishing a corporation to transfer your assets into, or place them into a blind trust.

In any event, because the victim has retained an attorney you would be well-advised to contact one yourself.

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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