Highway accidents tend to be more severe than crashes that happen on city streets. There are many lanes and endless rows of cars driving at high speed. And, usually, a collision between two vehicles quickly escalates into a multi-car pileup. If you are involved in such an accident, you will need an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer to determine who is responsible to pay for your damages.
As seen in the tragic crash on the Ohio Turnpike between State Route 53 and Route 4, involving 46 cars and resulting in 4 fatalities, a multi-car pileup is a catastrophic accident. There is a lot of confusion as to who was at fault and who should pay damages to whom.
In the immediate aftermath, there will be lots of ambulances, police officers, and inevitably insurance adjusters. As you try to assess the extent of your damages and wait for the doctor’s verdict, you also have to worry about medical care costs and lost wages.
Multi-Car Pileup Causes Can Be Difficult to Assess
It is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible after a multi-car pileup, especially if there are a lot of vehicles involved. The evidence is extremely difficult to sift through, and eyewitnesses can quickly forget important details.
It is also difficult to say who exactly initiated the multi-car pileup, especially in inclement weather – heavy snow, rain, or fog. Also, the legal aspects of liability can become very complex if one of the vehicles is:
- A commercial vehicle – delivery van, 18-wheeler or semi-truck
- A bus belonging to the public transportation authority
- A company car or a personal car driven for job-related purposes.
The Consequences of Being Caught in a Multi-Vehicle Accident Can Be Severe
There is nothing worse than being sandwiched between two other cars, with no space to protect yourself from various pieces of metal and plastic protruding from all sides. In the experience of any Ohio car accident lawyer, a multi-car pileup can leave many people with severe or catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Amputated limb
- Multiple bone fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Spine injury
- Head injury
- Traumatic brain injury.
Each of these injuries requires specialized medical care, multiple surgeries, and many weeks in the hospital under constant monitoring. You know what this means – very large hospital bills, additional costs for therapies, prescription medication, and follow-up checkups.
On top of that, you are no longer receiving your wages, and your family is slowly getting into debt, maxing out the credit cards and taking up new loans to pay for your medical care. However, an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer will identify all the liable parties and negotiate a fair settlement, which covers all eligible economic and non-economic damages.
How Is Fault Determined in a Multi-Car Pileup?
In most cases, several drivers share responsibility for a traffic accident involving multiple vehicles. Even if it all starts with a rear-end collision, the fault does not belong exclusively to the first car that hit the one in front of it.
An Ohio car accident lawyer will start by understanding what caused the accident. There are several possibilities. The following are common causes of pileup accidents.
High speed and an expressway full of cars represent the perfect recipe for a disaster, such as the one mentioned earlier in the article. As soon as one vehicle collides with another, the other speeding cars cannot avoid piling up and turning the highway into a jumble of contorted metal and shattered glass.
2. Failing to Maintain a Safe Distance
Everyone is in a hurry to get to work on time or to arrive punctually at various appointments. For some drivers, it feels that they will get there faster if they narrow the gap between their car and the one in front.
This is not true. And, unfortunately, it is a key factor that leads to a multi-car pileup involving dozens of vehicles. However, police officers are trained to observe and analyze the position of the cars, skid marks, and other signs that help them determine exactly who was not maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles.
Curiosity is natural to all human beings. But, in some cases, it can do a lot of damage. In case of car accidents, other drivers stop to see what happened. Maybe they genuinely want to offer assistance or just to take a few photos with their mobile phones.
But this will also make them involved parties in the accident, as other vehicles are unable to avoid their cars and hit them. The best practice when you see a car accident on a busy road is to call 9-1-1 using the hands-free system or pull over where it is safe to do so and do your duty as a good citizen.
4. Driver Fatigue
A multi-vehicle pileup can be caused in an instance when a large 18-wheeler plows into oncoming traffic. These monsters on wheels can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are 72 feet long and 13.5 feet tall. It is easy to imagine how a single truck can cause terrible damage to multiple vehicles in just a few moments.
In many such situations, an Ohio car accident lawyer finds out that the driver had been behind the wheel for a long time, way past the limit imposed by the hours of service rule. Unfortunately, driver fatigue is a common problem among truck drivers. They have very tight delivery deadlines and are more likely to break the rules than risk losing their jobs.
5. Poor Road Conditions
Is it possible that no driver involved in a multi-car pileup is at fault? In the experience of an Ohio car accident lawyer, such cases exist, though they are rare. They usually involve a large pothole or other types of damage or obstacles on the road.
As the first driver tries to avoid the obstacle, others hit them from behind, creating a chain reaction. Together with inclement weather with poor visibility, the combination of factors leads to a multiple-vehicle crash where none of the drivers may be more than 50% at fault for it. Instead, a third party, in this case, the authority in charge of road maintenance is the at-fault party.
An Experienced Ohio Car Accident Lawyer Will Determine Who Is Liable for Your Damages
A multi-car pileup is one of the most complex cases of traffic accidents. All the drivers will point their fingers at each other, while insurance adjusters will try to limit liability as much as possible.
In this situation, you need experienced legal representation to know where to file your car accident claim. A seasoned Ohio car accident lawyer will carefully analyze the circumstances of the crash, identify all the liable parties, and negotiate your claim.
To maximize your chances of getting fair compensation, schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible after your accident!