Auto accidents commonly result in injuries to more than one person. This is unfortunate, and makes the claims process a bit more difficult for many victims. The most notable ways that multiple injured parties affects an auto accident claim include:
Limits Insurance Funds
Almost all auto accident claims will involve insurance companies. When multiple people are injured, the amount of available insurance compensation will be split between them. That means the amount you may be eligible to receive will be limited by the policy limits. Most policies have a set amount of coverage, such as $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident. If three people are injured, then the total $50,000 will be split among them.
If all of the victims cannot agree on a settlement amount with the insurer, the insurance company may decide not to settle with any of them. If this happens, then the only recourse the victims have is to file a personal injury claim.
Personal Injury Claim Process
The personal injury claim process may be affected when multiple people are injured. One of the most crucial and lengthy stages of a personal injury claim is discovery – the stage when witnesses are interviewed, evidence is reviewed, and information is passed between all sides of the legal claim. If multiple people are injured in an accident, you may find it beneficial for all plaintiffs (victims) to join together. This avoids unnecessary or repetitive interviews and discovery. If the case goes to trial, all of the cases brought by each individual could all be tried at the same time.
Multiple People at Fault
When multiple people are injured in an auto accident, there is often more than one vehicle involved. In these cases, there may also be more than one person at fault for the accident. For example, if one driver is speeding through an intersection and the other driver turned against a red light. Both parties may be at fault, which would affect how any claims are processed. California has a comparative negligence rule, which means that accident victims can pursue compensation even if they are partially responsible for the accident.