As the temperature drops and we edge deeper into winter, road conditions can present hazardous conditions that make driving perilous. Sometimes these perilous conditions — like ice and reduced visibility — can contribute to car accidents. Sometimes they can even result in massive multi-car pileups. One accident can cause a chain reaction of accidents behind it on the highway, resulting in a confused parade of mangled cars and trucks that can sometimes even stretch for miles, as happened in February of this year in Erie County, Pennsylvania. In that incident, more than 100 cars slid into each other, injuring 27 people.
In this particular accident, no one was killed. But multi-car accidents like this one present increased danger to drivers because each car often gets hit multiple times from different directions. Each collision can shatter glass or compromise the integrity of the car, or create a risk of explosion if a gas tank is breached. Trucks can slide into the fray and cause greater damage than single cars. Victims of the crash, in shock, sometimes try to get out of their cars, and get hit by another car as the accident continues to unfold. Drivers may end up stranded in their cars for hours after such a pileup, which can be dangerous in chill winter conditions.
In addition to the increased risk of injury in a multi-car pileup, teasing out responsibility after the crash can be much more difficult than it would be for a one-car crash or a two-car collision. There can be many factors at play: were road conditions dangerous? Was someone texting while driving? Was there an intoxicated driver? Did someone fall asleep behind the wheel? It can be very challenging to determine the initial cause of the pileup when so many people are involved. An experienced car accident lawyer can be a great asset in this situation, accessing investigative resources and analyzing evidence to provide accident victims the best possible chance at a fair recovery.