What happens when several drivers have partial liability?

by Robin
(Lancaster, CA)

My Aunt and I were involved in a multi car (4) accident on the freeway during rush hour. A big rig swerved, supposedly to miss a car that pulled out in front of her (the big rig), it in turn caused another car to get pushed into myself, and I was pushed into the middle divider. I rode the divider down about 100 feet past the actual impact.

Our injuries were mostly from the AirBag impact injuries. They never found the car and driver that pulled out in front of the big rig, so the report is claiming they are at fault. I am guessing that the big rig's insurance company is taking partial responsibility. So, how do I collect on this?

I am self employed, which makes it worse because it's hard to prove the income I lost, mostly because it was a new service I had recently started with a new product . We have a family business and I missed a minimum of 30 days.

I an being treated at least once a week by my chiropractor, sometimes 2 to 4 times a week, but I can no longer afford to pay the $100 to $300 it costs. How do I get compensation for my costs related to this multi-car accident, where there may be multiple liable parties? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "What happens when several drivers have partial liability?":

Robin (Lancaster, CA):

Your first step is to secure a copy of the police report. While your facts don't mention the presence of the police, from the seriousness of the crash it can only be assumed the police were dispatched.

The police report will indicate with some degree of certainty which party or parties were at fault. Once you have determined who was fault, contact their insurance company. Because your injuries were "soft tissue" you can probably handle the claim yourself.

Soft tissue injuries normally include minor cuts and abrasions, like the ones you likely suffered to your face when the air bags deployed. Soft issue injuries also include sprains and strains to muscles, tendons and ligaments, whiplash, and other similar injuries.

When you contact the insurance companies they will open a claim. You will be assigned a claims adjuster who will in turn investigate the claim.

Presuming the adjuster agrees your injuries were the result of the negligence of the insured, you should be compensated for your chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, costs of travel to and from treatment, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.

It will be difficult to prove your lost wages. At this point, gather copies of deposits you've made from the profits of your company. Try to find similar companies and see what the income of those companies are. You can use that as evidence to support your claim for lost wages.

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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