Motor vehicle collisions happen every day. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that there are approximately 185,000 injury crashes in our state each year. Approximately half of all automobile crashes are single vehicle accidents. Many other crashes are two car collisions. A smaller, but still significant share, involve three or more vehicles.
Sorting out liability for a car crash can be challenging—especially with three or more vehicles involved in the accident. In California, liability for a three-vehicle accident will be determined based on the legal doctrine of comparative negligence. Here, our Stockton auto accident attorney provides an in-depth guide to three-vehicle crashes in California.
What to Do After a Three (or More) Vehicle Crash in Stockton?
Were you involved in a car crash in Stockton with two or more other vehicles? These cases are especially complex. It is crucial that you take proactive steps to protect your rights and your interests. Here are four key things to do after a many vehicle accident in Stockton, CA:
- Stop Your Vehicle, Exchange Information With All Drivers: All motorists involved in a crash in California are required to stop their vehicle and exchange information with other parties. Be sure to get information—name, contact details, vehicle make/model, insurance policy, etc—from every other driver.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Any Injuries: Your number one priority should always be your safety. All car accident injuries in Stockton should be evaluated by a qualified physician. Getting prompt care is crucial for your recovery. It is also a required part of the personal injury claims process. You need to see a doctor to bring a claim.
- Ensure the Collision Reported to Law Enforcement: All motor vehicle collisions that result in physical injuries must be reported in California. With three (or more) vehicle crashes, it is best to get an officer at the scene. Report the accident to the Stockton Police Department or the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department.
- Consult With a Stockton Lawyer Before an Insurer: With several vehicle accidents, there are going to be a lot of insurance companies involved in the process. Before you give a recorded statement to any insurance carrier, be sure to consult with a Stockton auto accident attorney. Your lawyer will protect your rights.
Comparative Negligence Determines Liability (What it Means for Three-Vehicle Collisions)
Who will be held legally responsible for a car accident in Stockton with three or more vehicles involved? The answer is that all parties that are found to be at fault will bear at least some liability. In California, motor vehicle accident liability falls under a fault-based legal standard. The party who causes a crash through negligence—failure to take due care—bears liability for resulting injuries.
With three-vehicle crashes, multiple parties may share the blame. California assigns fault based on comparative negligence. Each party to the collision is legally liable for their “share” of the negligence.
Imagine that you were in a crash at a Stockton intersection with two other drivers. You sustained $20,000 in total damages. One driver is found to be at fault for 80 percent of the crash. The other driver is found to be liable for the remaining 20 percent. The first motorist would be responsible for 80 percent of your damages ($16,000) and the other would be liable for 20 percent ($4,000).
Be Proactive: Know the Statute of Limitations
If you have been involved in an accident in California with three, four, or more vehicles, it is essential to know the statute of limitations for filing a claim. Under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code, § 335.1, a lawsuit for a personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the date of the crash. This standard applies to three-vehicle accident claims. There are a few exceptions. You do not want to fall behind the other drivers or the insurance companies in the claims process. Consult with a Stockton multi-vehicle collision attorney right away after a serious crash.
Recovering Full and Fair Financial Compensation for a Three-Car Crash in Stockton
After a three-vehicle accident in Stockton, you need financial compensation to pay your bills and support your family. How much compensation is available? It depends on a number of different factors, including your damages. California allows victims to pursue compensation for tangible and intangible losses. Our Stockton multi-vehicle accident lawyers are committed to helping victims maximize their financial recovery, including for:
- Automobile repairs;
- Medical bills;
- Rehabilitative treatment;
- Lost wages and lost earnings;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring or disability; and
- Wrongful death.
Speak to Our Stockton, CA Auto Accident Lawyer Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton auto accident attorneys are aggressive, experienced, and justice-first advocates for victims and families. We have helped our clients recover more than eight figures in financial compensation through settlement and verdicts. Hurt in a three (or more) vehicle crash? Our team can help. Contact us right away to set up your free, no obligation consultation. We handle motor vehicle accident claims in Stockton, San Joaquin County, and throughout California.