Highway pileups lead to complex insurance issues

Multi-car crashes, often called “pileups,” often cause serious injuries. Pileups are among the most dangerous types of roadway accidents that occur in New Mexico. In fact, a New Mexico woman recently lost her life in a five-car pileup while trying to offer assistance to another driver.

Not only are the injuries in these accidents often severe; the details of multi-car crashes can be harder to sort out after the fact. The chain reaction leading to a pileup makes insurance claims and more complex than a two-car collision.

The leading causes of pileups

Pileups tend to occur in high-traffic areas, like major highways and interstates, where cars are traveling close together. U.S. Highway 70, for example, is a prime area for pileups to happen.

Other factors that contribute to multi-car collisions include:

  • Bad weather
  • Potholes
  • Poor visibility, such as at night
  • Alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Reckless lane changes
  • Distracted driving

Many of these accidents occur on interstates because multiple drivers may have to react to the same sudden change in traffic conditions. Once the initial accident happens, other drivers might have only a split second to avoid joining a pileup. 

How a pileup affects your insurance claim

In New Mexico, damages awarded in a personal injury case change based on fault. Since our state follows the principle of “pure comparative negligence,” your financial recovery can be diminished based on the percentage a judge or jury finds you were at fault.

It is more difficult to determine fault in pileup accidents, due to the higher number of people and vehicles involved. In addition to injuries resulting from the first collision, there might be injuries caused by subsequent collisions.

This often results in multiple insurance claims and cross-claims with several different insurance companies, making for a complex personal injury case. If you were injured in a multi-car collision, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about getting the maximum available compensation for your injuries.

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