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Who Is Liable In A Multi-Car Pile Up?

By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 23rd February 2024. A multi-car pile-up is a road traffic accident that involves several vehicles. They can involve cars or any other type of road vehicle. A car crash pile-up is one of the most dangerous types of road accidents. If you are injured in a car accident in the UK, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries from the party who is responsible for the accident.

A multi-car pile up.

Who is liable in a multi-car pile up guide

In this guide, we will look at how a multiple car pile-up can happen and who is at fault in such a situation. We will also advise you on how to claim compensation for your injuries. We can offer free advice on road traffic accident claims. If you have strong grounds to make a claim, we could potentially connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

To speak to an advisor, call our free helpline on 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, you can fill out our online car accidents claims form to see if you can claim or send us your query using the chat window onscreen.

To learn more about Who Is Liable In A Multi-Car Pile Up and how it works, why not check out our video below:

Select A Section

  1. Multiple Vehicle Collision Claims – Eligibility Criteria
  2. Do I Need Evidence To Make A Claim Following A Multiple-Vehicle Collision?
  3. What Are Split Liability Claims?
  4. How Long Do You Have To Claim For A Multi-Car Collision?
  5. Payouts For Motorway Pile-Up Accident Claims
  6. What Are Special Damages?
  7. No Win No Fee Claims For Multi-Car Pile-Up Accidents
  8. Road Traffic Accident Claim Resources

Multiple Vehicle Collision Claims – Eligibility Criteria

When making a claim following a multiple-vehicle collision, you will need to determine the following:

  • Was a duty of care owed to you by another road user?
  • Did they breach this duty of care?
  • Were you injured as a result of this breach?

All road users are expected to follow the Highway Code to keep each other safe whilst on the road. Furthermore, the Road Traffic Act 1988 outlines that road users have a duty to take reasonable care when using the road to avoid causing injury to others.

If a driver acts negligently and causes, for example, a pile up on a motorway, in which you suffer an injury, you may be eligible to make a road traffic accident claim. However, you will need to gather evidence that can highlight your injuries and the other road user’s negligence. Additionally, you must take action before the limitation period expires.

Continue reading to find out more about the time limit to claim and collecting supporting evidence. Alternatively, speak to our advisors and they can answer any questions on road accident liability.

Do I Need Evidence To Make A Claim Following A Multiple-Vehicle Collision?

Providing sufficient evidence could help support your personal injury claim after a multiple-vehicle collision. Evidence could help with proving the type of injuries you suffered and who was liable for them.

Some examples of the evidence that could help support your road traffic accident claim include:

  • Medical evidence, such as your medical records, which illustrate what type of injuries you suffered and the treatment you received for them.
  • Any video footage of the vehicle collision happening, such as from CCTV or a dashcam.
  • Photographs of the accident scene and any of the visible injuries you have suffered.
  • The contact details of any witnesses to the accident who could provide a statement at a later date.

Get in touch with our advisors to see if one of our road accident solicitors could assist you with gathering evidence. Using their specialist knowledge, they’ll ensure all bases of your claim are covered. Additionally, they can answer questions about multiple car accident insurance issues.

Claims for multi-vehicle accidents must be supported with evidence.

What Are Split Liability Claims?

A split liability claim is when more than one party is judged to be at fault. For example, a driver may be injured in a multiple car pile-up accident on a motorway. They may be judged to be 25% at fault and another driver may be judged to be 75% responsible for causing the accident.

If the first driver made a successful split liability claim for their injuries, they would receive a compensation payout that is 75% of what they would have been paid had the other party been 100% liable.

Sometimes liability for a car pile up accident will be split between more than two parties. This could be the case if, for example, you’re involved in a 100 car pile-up where your negligence and the negligence of another road user led to the accident happening. Split liability claims are usually paid out through the other party’s insurance provider.

How Long Do You Have To Claim For A Multi-Car Collision?

If you would like to claim for a multi-car accident, you must start the process before the time limit expires. For personal injury claims, this is usually three years from the date of the crash, as set out in the Limitation Act 1980.

However, in certain circumstances, there are exceptions to the time limits. These include claims made by:

  • Those lacking the mental capacity to manage their own claim. In these cases, the limitation period is suspended for as long as they are without this mental capacity. During this time, a litigation friend could be appointed by the court to file the claim on their behalf. However, if the injured party regains this capacity and a claim hasn’t been started on their behalf, they will have three years from the date of recovering their capacity to initiate the claims process.
  • Those who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident. They will have a pause applied to the time limit until the day of their 18th birthday. At any point prior to this, a litigation friend could manage the claims process on behalf of the injured party. Otherwise, they can claim for themselves from the date of their 18th birthday.

If you would like to find out if you are still within the time limits to begin a claim for a multi-car pile up, please contact a member of our advisory team.

Payouts For Motorway Pile-Up Accident Claims

If you’ve been involved in a 3-car pile-up, or perhaps even an accident with more vehicles involved, it’s possible you could be owed compensation. This could be under two different heads of claim, and the value of this compensation could be influenced by a few different factors.

The figure that relates to your pain and suffering is known as general damages. In this section, you’ll find a table that displays some guide figures associated with certain injuries that could be sustained in a pile-up crash. The amounts listed have been taken from a publication that was updated in 2022, called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).

This publication is used by legal professionals during the process of valuing a claim. It is made up of a descriptive list of a variety of injuries and what their potential worth could be in general damages.

It’s essential to keep in mind that these figures are not guaranteed for your specific claim. Factors such as how severe your injury is and how long it may take you to recover will be taken into account when evaluating how much you could receive in general damages.

Whilst the JCG figures are a guideline, the last two entries in the table are fixed amounts from the tariff outlined in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. Additionally, the top row is from neither the Regulations or JCG, but is provided to show you how much compensation you could receive for multiple severe injuries and special damages.

InjurySeverityNotes On This InjuryEstimated Compensation
Multiple Serious Injuries and Special DamagesVery SevereClaimants could receive compensation for more than one serious injury and special damages, such as lost wages and home help.Up to £1,000,000+
Brain DamageVery SevereInjuries in this bracket result in severe cognitive and physical disabilities that require full time nursing care.£282,010 to £403,990
Ankle InjuryVery severeLimited and unusual injuries to the ankle, such as specific ankle fractures. This could include a soft tissue injury or a break which causes some deformity. £50,060 to £69,700
Ankle InjurySevereAn injury which necessitates a longer treatment period or where pins and plates need to be used.£31,310 to £50,060
Foot InjurySeriousThe claimant will have foot pain, such as that caused by traumatic arthritis. There could be the risk of further and future injury. £24,990 to £39,200
Foot InjuryModerateA displaced fracture in one of the metatarsals. This could lead to a degree of foot deformity and some long-term symptoms.£13,740 to £24,990
Hand InjuryLess seriousSevere crush injuries which could result in the claimant being left with impaired use of their hand.£14,450 to £29,000
Neck InjuryModerate (i)Moderate injuries which cause dislocations or fractures. These could cause immediate injury symptoms and they may require a spinal fusion.£24,990 to £38,490
One Or Multiple Whiplash Injuries-Symptoms lasting 18-24 months.£4,215
One or Multiple Whiplash Injuries With One Or Multiple Minor Psychological Injuries-Symptoms lasting 15-18 months.£4,345

If you happen to have been in a car pile-up due to someone else’s negligence, and have been injured as a result, you could potentially claim. Get in touch for more information on general damages and liability in general.

Will The Whiplash Reforms Affect My Claim?

The Whiplash Reform Programme implemented changes to the way in which certain road traffic accident claims are made. As per the changes, adult passengers and drivers with whiplash injuries valued at £5,000 or less need to claim in a different way. They will also have their whiplash injuries valued according to the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 which has a tariff of fixed amounts.

In some cases, it may not be necessary for to claim in this claim. For example, a person might sustain other injuries that bring the total value of the claim over £5,000. In this instance, they will claim the traditional way. However, the tariff will still apply to whiplash injuries. Any other injuries not included in the tariff will be valued in the traditional way.

To find out whether the whiplash reforms will have affect the way you make your claim, please get in touch using the number above.

What Are Special Damages?

The second head of claim you may be awarded is called special damages. This compensates you for the financial losses and costs you have accrued due to being injured in a car pile up. However, you will need to provide evidence of these losses.

Some examples of what special damages could compensate you for include:

  • A loss of earnings resulting from time off work to recover from your injuries. A payslip can be used to prove this loss.
  • Prescription fees caused by paying for medication to alleviate symptoms of your injuries. Keep hold of a receipt of your prescription as evidence of this expense.
  • Specialist equipment you require to cope with your injuries. For example, you may have suffered a broken bone in your foot and need a wheelchair. Again, retain any receipts or invoices regarding this purchase to be used as evidence in your claim.

Contact our advisors today to discuss the benefits of making a personal injury claim with one of our car accident solicitors. They can also provide you with free advice for your potential claim.

No Win No Fee Claims For Multi-Car Pile-Up Accidents

If you have been injured because of a multi-car pile up accident that was not your fault, you can make a No Win No Fee claim. A No Win No Fee claim means that you won’t have to pay an hourly or upfront legal fee in order to claim. Instead, you will pay a success fee on the condition that your personal injury solicitor wins your compensation claim. This will be formalised by signing a Conditional Fee Agreement.

Because you don’t have to pay an upfront legal fee, making a No Win No Fee claim is the more affordable way to claim compensation for many. What’s more, because you don’t have to pay your solicitors fee if the claim is unsuccessful, there is less financial risk involved.

To begin your No Win No Fee claim for road accident compensation, contact us today. You can reach us using the details below:

A solicitor discusses claiming for a multiple vehicle accident.

Road Traffic Accident Claim Resources

We hope you have found this article helpful. If you wish to claim compensation for injuries caused by a car accident, you may find these guides helpful.

To learn more about multi-car pile-up claims, please contact our team for free legal advice. Our advisors can be contacted 24/7 using the above details.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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