In the past we’ve written about both chain reaction accidents and semi-truck crashes. These two kinds of accidents tend to cause serious casualties. Unfortunately, one Southern California accident Aug. 11 combined both types of crashes into one. The results were disastrous.
A chain reaction crash usually happens on freeways where vehicles are traveling at high speeds. When one vehicle hits something or experiences a problem, others behind it may not be able to stop in time before hitting it. Then the vehicles behind them have the same danger. The result is a massive pileup and even passengers who survive their initial collision may be further injured by the subsequent collisions behind them.
Semi-trucks, which have substantial bulk behind them and dwarf most other vehicles, complicate any accident. Anyone inside a car struck by a semi is likely to be severely injured.
Last week’s crash involved at least 11 vehicles on the 60 Freeway—including three big rigs. The crash happened around 5:30 in the morning and blocked westbound lanes for seven hours. But the cost was much more than lost time for commuters: at least a dozen people were injured, some seriously, and one 5-year old girl was killed.
The scene of the accident was a dangerous mess of wreckage, fire and fuel. Firefighters spearheaded rescue and cleanup efforts, and victims were rushed to the hospital. But the freeway remained covered in diesel fuel leaked from a tanker truck that had struck the concrete median barrier.
Diesel wasn’t the only thing it leaked. Worried it would tip over across the divider, firefighters tipped it the other way in a controlled fall onto the closed lane. This solved the safety risk, but caused it to begin spilling its cargo—and approximate 6,500 gallons of milk. The milk ran harmlessly into the storm drain.
There’s no word on what caused the accident. Frequently, chain reactions are caused by seemingly minor problems: swerving around a piece of debris or changing lanes without looking. But at high freeway speeds, these tiny errors can cause a deadly pileup.
One thing that’s clear is that the aftermath of such an accident is a tangle of injuries and responsibility. Most drivers in a chain reaction accident are not personally responsible for what happened, as the conditions make avoiding the accident almost impossible. But they are owed compensation for their injuries, including medical bills, the cost of rehabilitative therapies and lost wages from missing work. Insurance companies are often slow to pay this compensation, or offer unrealistically low payments.
As car accident lawyers, we are highly experienced dealing with insurance companies and happy to help anyone who has been injured in an accident. Contact us today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.