A tractor trailer was unable to stop and slammed into a stopped passenger car pushing it into another big rig near mile marker 29 around 2:40 pm, Wednesday, November 14, 2018. Four other tractor trailers approached the scene each smashing into the stopped vehicle in front. According to Pennsylvania State Police, two people died and one was severely injured as a result of the pile-up near Hamburg (north of Reading, PA).
The collisions occurred over several minutes and the continued impact resulted in the passenger car and two of the tractor trailers catching on fire. State police closed I-78 in both directions and reopened the interstate five hours later.
Chain-Reaction Accidents can Cause Severe Damage
Chain-reaction collisions typically occur when traffic is stopped on a busy highway or freeway. Then each vehicle involved is unable to slow quickly enough to avoid the stopped vehicle in their path. The result is a pile-up of vehicles that cause an enormous amount of damage.
The driver of a vehicle that rear-ends another is typically not focused on what might be coming from behind which adds to the dangers of a chain-reaction. Further, with each subsequent collision, the damage increases, and the danger of a serious injury or fatality is heightened.
What to do if in a Chain-Reaction Collision
It’s a difficult decision, do I stay in my car in a pile-up accident or do I get out and make a run for it? If I stay in, I might get hit once or sever more times, so getting out seems like the thing to do. However, if I get out, I lose the protection of my vehicle, and my injuries could be worse, so which is best?
According to American Automobile Association, the best thing to do is stay in your vehicle until told otherwise by authorities. Susan Hiltz, spokeswoman for AAA Michigan said, “There’s more danger in getting out of your car than staying in your car.” She added that there are too many unknown factors during a massive vehicle pileup to risk getting out.
Causes and Fault of Chain-Reaction Collisions
All it takes is one driver to start a multi-car pile-up. The two greatest factors are speed and distracted driving. When looking at speed as a cause, it must be considered in light of road conditions. Icy, snowy or wet roads require longer stopping times, and higher speeds can create significantly longer stopping times. Thus even going under the posted speed limit can be traveling too fast to avoid a collision.
Distracted driving has always been a problem as drivers have less time to react and safely stop if they aren’t paying attention and thus get a later start in avoiding the car in their path. Today, cell phones add to the amount of distracted driving.
When it comes to chain-reaction crashes, typically, each driver is responsible for stopping in time to prevent hitting the car in hid or her path. However, sometimes, a driver can do everything right, and still hit the car in front. This can create some ambiguity in determining fault.
In some states, such as Pennsylvania, the law divides fault as a percentage assigned to each driver involved. Thus it’s conceivable that in a chain-reaction, the distracted driver who started the pile-up might be assigned a percentage of blame. This can greatly complicate the issue of liability.
Do I need an Attorney?
If you’re ever seriously injured in an accident with a truck or where speed was a factor or lost a loved one in a multiple vehicle crash, contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We have experience working with claims against trucking companies. These claims are especially complex as you could be dealing with the truck driver, truck owner, truck company, trailer company, insurer and multiple other parties.If a loved one was lost you should also be aware of wrongful death claims.
Do you want someone on your side? Or do you want to take the word of the insurance company or their attorneys for the amount of compensation you have coming? If you are injured in a chain-reaction collision, you need help in working through all of these complicated issues to determine how to get compensated. You need an attorney that understands the law and has experience dealing with insurance companies. Don’t wait until they start treating you poorly before you contact an attorney as some mistakes can’t be undone. The sooner you have someone working for you, the better off you are.