Most multi-car accidents are chain-reaction collisions. They get started by one driver not paying attention or weather conditions like fog or ice. A smaller percentage is caused by drunk drivers or sudden medical emergencies.
In chain-reaction collisions there is usually enough insurance to go around. (Not always, but usually.) In accidents caused by drunk drivers or by sudden medical emergencies the driver who causes the crash seldom has enough insurance. In these situations it’s key to have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance (UIM). If there isn’t UIM or there isn’t enough it becomes important to check to see if there are other sources of recovery. For instance, there may be a claim against the bar that served the drunk driver.
Sudden medical emergency cases can be a little trickier. If the sudden medical emergency wasn’t foreseeable, there’s no liability. An example would be a heart attack if the driver was in perfect health. However, a heart attack in someone who was morbidly obese and had failed to take their heart medication for two months would produce a different result.
These issues regarding multiple vehicles accidents were brought into pretty sharp focus this week. King 5 reports:
[A] multi-car crash spanning more than three blocks of Rainier
Avenue South in Seattle hospitalized at least 10 people Friday, including children.
[A] white pickup truck driver was driving down the street hitting one car after another. A total of 15 cars were involved, nine of them were occupied. Police say the driver was reportedly driving erratically and traveling at speeds of more than 60 miles per hour.
Investigators [are] looking into whether drugs, alcohol or a medical condition were a factor.
We’re happy to speak with people affected by this collision.