How do Florida courts determine who is liable in a multicar accident?

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Heidi A. Hillyer - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Heidi A. Hillyer

Located in Winter Springs, FLHeidi A. Hillyer, P.A.

Winter Springs, FL
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Florida is a comparative liability state. This means a jury decides the percentage of liability attributed to an injured person after a multicar (three cars or more) crash. Your monetary recovery is based on the amount of your negligence, but these types of details are hard to determine. There is no road map to deciphering fault in a multivehicle collision. Even with injuries, you may still be considered at fault and receive a reduced award.

The jury is attempting to fully understand a sequence of a split-second event, and all they have to rely on is the evidence collected and testimony. During this process, there will be many parties digging into the factors leading up to and the evidence from the crash. However, it will help you to consider who is doing the investigating and where their priorities lie. 

Insurance Companies Investigate To Minimize Their Payout

Unfortunately, the insurance company is not necessarily considering your best interests in a crash. Most likely, they want to pay out the minimum amount possible. They may try to imply that you are only slightly at fault, and because of that you may not file a lawsuit thinking that it would be unproductive. Whether it is your insurance company or the other drivers, their goal may not necessarily be in line with you and your best interests. 

Additionally, the company’s interviewers will want to talk to their client, the insured and the injured party. Examination of all the information may include:

  • Police records
  • Medical records
  • Speed of cars
  • Evidence 

They may ask if someone involved in the accident had a last chance to avoid the wreck. Before you consider answering a question like that, you must consider your situation. If you are injured, you need to put yourself first. Expensive medical bills can last for years, depending on the extent of your injuries. Your health care and recovery is your top priority. The wrong answer to an insurer’s questions can possibly jeopardize that. 

Police Investigate To Uncover The Sequence Of Events

Multiple car collisions can be difficult to assess, so astute investigative skills are paramount. The police will attempt to reveal a series of events and evidence, such as getting witness statements and reviewing video evidence. They often rely on experience to expose key factors. It is always imperative to cooperate with a police investigation, however, as with an insurance investigation, your direct interests and benefits are not the point. 

A Lawyer Investigates On Your Behalf

A diligent personal injury attorney is thorough and studies every piece of evidence to build a strong defense on your behalf. They are compassionate and attentive, and will keep you up-to-date on your case. Complications may arise if you attempt to represent yourself in a court of law. A dedicated attorney can put together the pieces of the accident and serve as your personal storyteller for the jury. 

If you received injuries due to a multicar wreck, you have the right to take legal action. A hands-on lawyer, experienced in car accidents, can fight to get the most favorable results while protecting your best interests. It will come down to how the jury decides the level of liability for each driver. A confident and assertive attorney strives to get you the least amount of fault and the most amount of financial recovery.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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