Who Is Liable in a Massive Car Pileup?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Any driver involved in a massive car pileup, such as the recent 131-car pileup in Wisconsin, the largest in the state’s history, faces a great deal of uncertainty regarding liability. With so many vehicles involved in a single incident, cleanup can take days, investigations can last for several weeks, and drivers may wait months for their insurance claim payouts. If lawsuits arise from such an incident, the uncertainty surrounding liability can cause litigation to drag on for months or even years.

Who Pays for a Pileup Accident?

With so many vehicles involved in a single incident, determining the exact cause of the incident can be extremely challenging if not impossible. Additionally, if an investigation were to uncover a single liable party for all the other drivers’ damages, no one carries enough insurance coverage to pay for all those drivers’ losses. In many pileup accident cases, investigators ultimately decide that fault cannot be determined.
When an investigation takes too long to determine an exact cause and identify the liable party or parties behind a pileup, the affected drivers may face significant financial strains due to vehicle repair costs, medical expenses for injuries, and lost income from missed time at work. These economic burdens become worse when an investigation cannot determine a cause of the accident or if an accident places liability on multiple parties.

Insurance for Pileup Accidents

If a pileup accident occurs in a no-fault state, drivers simply file insurance claims against their own auto insurance policies. Every no-fault state requires drivers to purchase and maintain personal injury protection coverage to use after an accident. Most no-fault states only allow accident victims to take legal action if they suffer severe injuries or if their damages exceed the scope of available coverage.
In fault-based states, drivers who only carry the minimum auto insurance coverage may not have collision coverage to pay for damages to their own vehicles. Most minimum insurance requirements in fault-based states require drivers to have bodily injury liability coverage, total accident liability coverage, and property damage liability coverage in specific amounts. Drivers have the option of purchasing collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and various other types of additional coverage through most insurance carriers, but more leads to higher premiums.

Dealing With Insurance After a Pileup Accident

An insurance company will launch an investigation into a policyholder’s claim for coverage after an accident. The investigation following a pileup accident can take a very long time to reach any conclusions. All auto insurance policyholders must remember that an insurance company only owes a duty to pay for a claim under the terms of the policy, meaning the claim must be a covered event and the insurer will only pay up to the upper limits the policy allows.
For example, a multi-car pileup accident could total in the millions of dollars when you add up all the driver’s damages including medical expenses, vehicle damage, and other losses like pain and suffering and lost income. When an insurance company receives multiple claims against a policyholder for a single incident, the company will generally look for any reasons available to shift blame away from their policyholder and minimize liability for the accident.

Why You Need an Attorney

Dealing with any type of pileup accident is a stressful and frustrating ordeal, and having the right attorney in your corner can make a significant difference in your recovery. Your car accident attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and also launch a separate investigation into the accident and consult with expert witnesses to support your claim if necessary. An attorney may also offer guidance to help you handle your personal finances while you wait for an insurance payout.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:24 pm

3 Warning Signs for Daycare & Babysitting Abuse

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

If you trust someone to watch your children while you work or spend childfree time with your partner or friends, you need to know the signs of abuse. Some caregivers abuse the children in their care or do not offer the level of supervision you expect. Consider some of the following warning signs of child abuse and be sure to investigate immediately if you suspect a caregiver, daycare employee, or babysitter has abused your child. Remember that Texas law requires anyone who suspects or witnesses child abuse of any kind to report it to the authorities immediately.

Regressive Behavior

Children are remarkably resilient, but they typically do not process trauma in the same way adults do. Many children respond to trauma by mentally blocking it out or replacing it with something that makes sense to them, such as an imaginary monster taking the place of a real-world abuser. Victims of child abuse tend to process trauma in unpredictable ways, and regressive behaviors are common signs a child has endured some form of abuse.

  • A potty-trained child who consistently sleeps through the night without wetting the bed may start having bedwetting incidents following abuse.
  • Sucking thumbs, cuddling with a baby blanket, or otherwise reverting to younger behavior should be a major red flag for any parent. This is often a coping mechanism for younger children who cannot psychologically process abuse the way an adult can.
  • A child abused at daycare or by a babysitter may start lashing out in other ways, such as protesting going to school or going to bed on time.

Any noticeable changes in your child’s behavior require investigation.

Physical Signs of Abuse

Your child will likely have many cuts and scrapes growing up, just as any child would from playing outside and roughhousing with friends, but these are explainable and reasonable injuries in most cases. If you notice any injuries that your child cannot explain or seems to avoid talking about, consider this a major red flag.

  • Check for bruising that looks like finger marks, a sign that a caregiver may have mishandled or directly abused your child in some way.
  • If your child suffers an injury at a daycare, there should be an incident report on record. If the injury happened while in the care of a babysitter or nanny, expect a thorough explanation.
  • Any type of injury or bleeding around the genitals or rectum is a major indicator of sexual abuse. Contact the police immediately and seek medical treatment for your child for a diagnosis of his or her condition.

Marked Changes in Behavior

Just as children sometimes regress to acting younger than their current ages, they may also process trauma by acting out in unpredictable or even dangerous ways.

  • An abused child may start abusing or bullying others.
  • A child who previously performed well in school and consistently good behavior may start neglecting schoolwork or acting out in the classroom.
  • An abused child may start getting physical with parents or refuse personal contact.

It is vital to discuss these changes with your child and let him or her know you can help. Encourage an open conversation and be receptive to your child’s feelings. Many children suffer abuse and do not know how to handle it or how to ask for help. If you are argumentative or doubtful of what your child tells you, the results can be devastating. If a child believes no one will help this can cause severe psychological trauma and allow the abuse to continue unabated.
If you notice any of these signs of abuse with your child, it is crucial to investigate them immediately. This is especially true if your child hates going to school or daycare or protests when a certain babysitter comes to watch him or her; the child may be acting out of fear but does not know how to articulate the problem.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:14 pm