Winter weather in Indiana can create treacherous roads — heavy snows, icing, reduced visibility from blizzard conditions. It is not unusual for those in and around Indianapolis to read of multi-car pile-ups.
Within one week of February 2014 we read of the following:
- A massive pile-up in Delaware County involving more than 20 cars because severe winds created white-out conditions
- A multi-vehicle crash on I-69 in Huntington County affecting both north and southbound lanes and a mix of cars, tractor-trailer trucks and recreational vehicles
- In Whitley County, as many as 20 cars were in a chain-reaction crash on U.S. 30.
- DeKalb County was the location of a 20-car pile-up caused by white-out conditions.
- Thirteen cars collided in Fulton County.
- A wreck in LaPorte County included three cars, a truck, a van, an SUV and a tractor-trailer.
In complex accident cases, it is a good idea to contact an Indiana car accident lawyer to ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve. At McNeely Stephenson, we have been successfully litigating Indiana personal injury cases since 1982. Our experience and dogged determination to obtain full and fair compensation for our clients is well known.
You can read what some of our past clients had to say HERE — then call 855-206-2555 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation about your multiple vehicle accident.
Causes of Chain Reaction Wrecks
As described above, some multiple vehicle pile-ups occur because of weather conditions — black ice, snow, windy blizzards. They can happen any time of the year, not just in winter. Rain water can cause cars to hydroplane. Fog can reduce visibility so that cars run up on vehicles in front.
There are factors other than weather, however, that are often responsible for chain-reaction crashes:
- Distracted drivers who crash into a stopped vehicle in front of them, only to be rammed by the following vehicle
- Drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol and make unsafe lane changes
- Drowsy drivers who lose control of the vehicle as they nod off behind the wheel
- Cars or trucks driving without lights, either because of carelessness or because the vehicle was poorly maintained.
Determining Fault in a Multi-Car Accident
Determining fault for a chain-reaction crash is a complex process. Insurance companies will be analyzing the details of the accident to pinpoint the “proximate cause,” or the negligent act which set in motion a chain of circumstances which naturally and foreseeably led to the resulting injury.
Some states have a no-fault insurance system, but not Indiana. So if a multi-car accident has left you with injuries or a damaged vehicle, you can file a claim under your own insurance policy, pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy, and/or file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Mike Stephenson, an Indianapolis complex car accident lawyer, can help you determine the most advisable course of action based upon the circumstances of your accident.
Why Multiple-Vehicle Accidents are Deadly
Multi-vehicle collisions are especially dangerous because a car can be impacted by more than one other vehicle… and from several directions. A car which is in the middle of a chain-reaction collision will experience both a frontal impact and a rear-end hit, subjecting both the vehicle and its occupants to serious injury and damage. When vehicles slide and spin on snow or ice, there may be side impacts as well as frontal impacts.
Additionally, the more vehicles that are involved in a crash, the more tons of steel and broken glass there are to cause injury. There’s always the possibility of a vehicle fire caused by sparks and gasoline, but in multiple-vehicle crashes, that risk is compounded.
When 20 or 30 cars are piled up, emergency vehicles have a hard time reaching those who are injured. In some cases, all lanes are blocked by wrecked vehicles, so valuable time is lost getting urgent treatment to seriously injured motorists — and that delay may be as deadly as the impact of the crash.