Yours is not an uncommon scenario. We often get clients who have been in back-to-back car accidents. It does complicate things, but it doesn't mean that the two accidents cancel each other out, rendering your cases impossible to pursue.
If the injuries from each accident were entirely different (for example, in the first accident you injured your wrist only, and in the second accident you injured your back only) then it can be relatively easy to distinguish the accidents.
Things get more complicated when there are overlapping injuries. Most commonly, an accident victim injures his or her neck and back in one accident, then the second accident causes a re-aggravation of the pre-existing medical condition.
Obviously all treatment from the date of the first accident up to just before the second accident is due to the first accident. If you had substantially recovered and you were close to being released from treatment when the second accident happened, and your medical records reflect that, then you have a strong argument that all medical treatment after the second accident is due to only to the second accident.
If when the second accident happened, you were not close to being released from treatment for the first accident, and you had overlapping injuries, then it becomes more difficult to assign causation of your injuries to the first or second accident, but not impossible. We will rely upon many factors to distinguish the two accidents, including:
- Severity of each of the impacts (speeds involved, amount of property damage, etc.)
- Injuries reported immediately after each accident, as reflected in the police report and emergency room records
- The content of medical records for the last visit you had before the second accident: what complaints did you still have? Frequency of the pain? Severity of the pain?
If the insurance companies refuse to accept their fair percentage of liability for your injuries, then we would file a single lawsuit, listing both accidents and naming both drivers as defendants in the lawsuit. Then litigation would ensue in order to hash out responsibility for your injuries and damages.
If you have been injured in back-to-back car accidents, a lawyer at our Santa Monica personal injury law firm is available to provide a free consultation. Do not let the insurance companies get a pass just because you had the misfortune of being in back-to-back car accidents.