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Tinley Park traffic accident lawyersA typical car accident injury case is already complicated. When multiple vehicles are involved in a collision, the case becomes even more complex. If you or a loved one were involved in a pile-up accident, you may be curious about how these accidents are handled from a legal perspective. Is the driver of the vehicle that initially caused the collision liable for all of the other collisions? Am I liable for hitting someone else’s vehicle because I was rear-ended? Questions like these are what make injury claims involving pile-ups so difficult to navigate.

Seeking Compensation for Damages Through a Personal Injury Claim

Last month, smoke from a grass fire caused a multiple vehicle pile-up accident in Illinois. Nine vehicles and one semi-truck were involved in the collision. Several of the individuals involved in the crash sustained serious injuries and needed to be airlifted to the hospital. Accidents involving multiple vehicles often cause chain reactions that result in multiple severe injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one were hurt in a multiple vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Assigning Fault for a Multiple Vehicle Accident

Liability in a pile-up accident often falls to multiple parties. Understanding exactly how an accident unfolded and who is at fault is no simple task. Accident reconstruction is often a very useful tool in situations such as these. Your personal injury attorney may work with an accident reconstruction specialist to recreate the accident using computer programs, illustrations, and physical models. Evidence such as vehicle crash recorder data, traffic camera footage, and witness testimony is often key to understanding fault through accident reconstruction.

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Orland Park personal injury attorneysWhen most people are involved in a negligence lawsuit, they expect at the end to receive sufficient compensation to address the harm they have suffered, and indeed, that is the aim of most proceedings. However, what many do not know is that their award will often be reduced, because it is rare that either the plaintiff or the defendant is totally blameless in an accident. This doctrine is referred to as comparative fault.

Contributory Negligence vs. Comparative Fault

In most accident cases, the first question that is asked is who is at fault. Historically, under common law, if it was determined that the plaintiff played any role in their own injuries, it acted as a complete bar to recovery. The rationale at the time was that everyone had a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent themselves from sustaining injury, and if they failed in that duty, they might be barred from recovery.

Gradually, however, the states have begun to shy away from this rule, primarily on public policy grounds. Public policy is a concept that states that a law or decision should not shock the conscience of the public, and to completely deprive an injured plaintiff of recovery based on perhaps 5 percent contributory negligence was often seen as unjust. There are very few jurisdictions nowadays that retain the pure contributory negligence standard; almost all have shifted to the comparative fault standard (including Illinois), which holds that if a plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries, no recovery is possible.

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