Chain Reaction/Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Legal Guidance for Multi-Vehicle Collision Victims in the Albuquerque Area
What happens when multiple vehicles are involved in a car crash? In many cases, a multi-vehicle accident is a chain reaction. One driver rear-ends another driver, pushing that person’s car into a third vehicle, and so on. However, in other cases, multi-vehicle accidents involve multiple drivers, each of whom is not paying attention, and they can also result in a large-scale crash. In those cases, each of the drivers involved may tell different stories about what happened, and it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction specialist to testify as to fault. At the Fine Law Firm, our Albuquerque car accident attorneys assist individuals with pursuing damages after multi-vehicle accidents.
Establishing the Liability of Negligent Drivers
In order to establish negligence against a driver in a multi-vehicle accident, you will need to prove certain elements by a preponderance of the evidence. These are the driver’s duty of care, the driver’s act or omission that breached the duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. The first element, duty, can usually be established easily because all drivers in New Mexico are required to use reasonable care to avoid injury to others on the road. However, breach of duty and causation can be more subtle, and in a multi-vehicle accident, it may be necessary to retain an expert to testify as to what actually happened to cause your injuries.
New Mexico follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that in a multi-vehicle accident, the jury will assess the total amount of damages and then assign a percentage of responsibility to each party alleged to be at fault. A plaintiff’s ability to recover will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
For example, in a car accident case, the jury may find that a certain driver’s total damages are $100,000. If it finds that this person was 30 percent at fault for causing the collision, he or she still may recover up to 70 percent of his or her costs and losses from another driver who held the remaining responsibility for the accident.
Except in limited circumstances that are unlikely to apply to a car accident, the doctrine of joint and several liability has been abolished in New Mexico. Under this doctrine, theoretically, one victim would be able to recover all of his or her damages from one defendant, even if several defendants were jointly responsible for causing the harm. However, New Mexico follows the rule of several liability, in which each defendant is responsible for damages only up to his or her percentage of fault.
Consult an Albuquerque Attorney to Discuss Your Multi-Vehicle Accident Case
In many multi-vehicle accidents, numerous drivers and passengers have injuries, and it may be hard to figure out what the truth is from witnesses’ competing accounts of what happened. It is important to consult your own experienced personal injury attorney before talking to representatives of other drivers’ insurance companies, so that what you say will not be twisted to prevent you from recovering the full compensation you need. If you were hurt in a car accident, you can contact the Albuquerque injury lawyers at the Fine Law Firm online or by calling us at (505) 243-4541 to set up a free consultation. Our attorneys also represent residents of Rio Rancho and other communities in New Mexico.