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Multiple Vehicle Accidents Increasing in Washington State

Multiple Vehicle Accidents Increasing in Washington State

The Traffic Safety Commission recently reported an increase in the number of accidents reported in Washington State over the past few years. In 2022, 745 people lost their lives in accidents, while more than 29,500 people incurred injuries. The total number of fatalities was the highest reported number since 1990.

In 2023, this number rose again to 772 traffic fatalities reported statewide. Of the total number of fatal accidents, more than 240 involved three or more vehicles. This accounts for 9.1% of the total traffic accidents reported in the state, which is 22% higher than the national average. Our Washington auto accident attorney witnesses the consequences of accidents in our state daily. Our team at Bernard Law Group is here to explain some of the most common causes of multi-vehicle accidents and what you can do to protect yourself while behind the wheel.

Common Causes of Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Among the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in Washington, four factors play a major role. These include:

  • Impairment: Over four years, an average of 32% of fatal crashes reported statewide involved at least one driver who was impaired by alcohol. Driving while under the influence can significantly affect a driver’s ability to control their vehicle and avoid collisions.
  • Distractions: Over the past decade, an average of 23% of accidents reported each year involved distractions. More recently, an increase in cellphone use has been cited as the most common distraction leading to collisions.
  • Speeding: Nearly 32% of all crashes reported in Washington involve drivers traveling above the posted speed limit. Speeding dramatically increases the chance of a driver losing control of their vehicle and causing a severe accident.
  • Not wearing seatbelts: Approximately 50% of all fatal crashes reported annually involve victims who were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their accidents. Unrestrained passengers have a much higher chance of being ejected and suffering severe and fatal injuries in accidents.

No matter how careful you are while behind the wheel, other drivers who engage in these reckless and dangerous actions place drivers and passengers at risk. When these acts of negligence lead to multi-vehicle accidents, the situation becomes far more complex from a legal standpoint. Seeking legal representation from a car accident lawyer in Washington is critical.

Why Are Multi-Vehicle Accidents More Complex?

Unlike typical accidents involving just two vehicles, multi-vehicle collisions in Washington State present unique challenges for those seeking compensation for their injuries and damages. These include:

Determining Liability

One of the primary challenges of personal injury claims involving multiple vehicles is establishing liability. Unlike other accidents, where fault may be more straightforward, multi-vehicle collisions often involve multiple parties with varying degrees of responsibility.

Contributory Negligence Laws

Our state’s contributory negligence laws further complicate multi-vehicle accident cases.  Each party involved can be assigned a percentage of fault based on their actions leading up to the accident. Proving liability in multi-vehicle accidents involves collecting strong evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reconstructing the sequence of events. Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation, but your percentage of fault will reduce your award.

Multiple Insurance Policies

In multi-vehicle accidents, multiple insurance policies may cover the damages. Each policy has its coverage limits and exclusions. However, other avenues, such as underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection (PIP), may be used if the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured.

Complex Injuries and Damages

Multi-vehicle accidents often result in more severe injuries and extensive property damage than single-vehicle collisions. Similarly, property damage may involve multiple vehicles and structures, further complicating the valuation process. Your car accident lawyer in Washington may use specialist testimony from medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists to accurately assess the full extent of damages.

Lengthy Legal Processes

Due to the complex nature of determining fault in multi-vehicle accidents, personal injury claims surrounding these accidents can take months or even years to resolve. Negotiating with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and navigating the legal system all contribute to the overall length of the claim. Working with a car accident lawyer in Washington is essential.

Your attorney will be able to present the strongest argument on your behalf. They will gather evidence for your claim and present it clearly and convincingly. Furthermore, your attorney will help you seek the maximum compensation for your current and future damages.

Contact Our Washington Auto Accident Attorney Now

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, our Washington auto accident attorney at Bernard Law Group can help you protect your rights. With decades of combined experience representing car crash victims across the state, you can depend on our team to fearlessly advocate for your rights and best interests. Contact our car accident lawyer in Washington to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

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