08192017Headline:

Vancouver, Washington

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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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Multiple car accidents

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It happens. You become unlucky enough to find yourself involved in a car accident. The accident leaves you injured. Fortunatley the other driver has insurance. Then bad luck strikes again. Another car accident. You recieve more injuries. Or maybe the injuries you got in the first accident are made worse. Your doctor finds it difficult to sort out which accident caused which medical problem. Then the two insurancne companies begin what is referred to as the squeeze game. The first company says all your problems are from the second accident. The other disagrees, saying the first accident is mostly to blame. You can’t get the two companies to agree on what percentage of blame each should accept. So what do you do? If you file a lawsuit on the first one, there is a risk a jury will think most of your problems are due to the second collision. And this decision isn’t binding on the other insuracne company. If you end up having to file a second suit to collect from the other company, you may get inconsistent verdicts. In other words, a second jury may conclude your health problems really are mostly caused by the first collision. You could end up stuck in the middle, with neither company having to pay for your injuries. Fortuanely, if you find yourself in this position, the common law regarding tort claims can help. Most states have cases on the books that allow you to file a single lawsuit naming both drivers. This way you can force the two insurance companies into the same suit. The law requires you still prove each was at fault and that you were injured, but it doesn’t force you to separate out which one caused what. The tort law actually shifts the burden of sorting that out to the two bad drivers. If they can’t sort it out, the law states each is fully responsible for your total damages. This doesn’t mean you get to collect twice, but it does mean that should one driver not carry enough insuracne the other driver has to make up the difference. A very consumer freindly law. The only time it might not work is when the two accidents are in different states, a not unusual occurrence in the Portland/Vancouver area. When that happens it usually takes some creative lawyering to make the rule apply.