According to a report from 11 Alive News, a four-car pile-up accident shut down a significant portion of Interstate-285 (I-285) in DeKalb County for over an hour. At least one person was hospitalized with a serious injury because of the collision. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear and it is still under a comprehensive investigation by law enforcement.
Car accident claims are complicated—especially in highway pile-up crashes. At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, we have the professional skills and legal expertise to help our clients navigate complex insurance claims. Here, our Atlanta car accident lawyer provides an overview of the key things to know about highway pile-up collision claims in Georgia.
What is a Highway Pile-Up Accident?
A highway pile-up accident refers to a chain-reaction crash on an interstate or other major roadway involving multiple vehicles. Most often, these types of collisions are initiated by a single initial crash or incident which is made worse because oncoming vehicles are unable to stop in time or otherwise avoid the obstruction. Notably, these types of accidents can be particularly dangerous due to the high speeds at which vehicles travel on highways.
Most Common Reasons Why Pile-Up Collisions Happen in Georgia
Highway pile-up crashes can happen for a wide range of different reasons. It is crucial that any accident is thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney. Here are some of the most common reasons why highway pile-up crashes happen in Georgia:
- Distracted Driving: With the rise in smartphone use and in-car entertainment systems, distracted driving is a major threat—especially on interstate highways. Even a few seconds of inattention can lead to disastrous results at high speeds.
- Speeding: Despite posted speed limits, some drivers go above the recommended speed. Higher speeds reduce the driver’s reaction time and increase the severity of crashes. A speed-related pile-up crash is disproportionately likely to cause severe injuries.
- Tailgating (Following Too Closely): Driving too close to the vehicle in front doesn’t provide ample time or space to break in emergencies, leading to rear-end collisions that can trigger pile-ups. All drivers should leave appropriate space.
- Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs severely affects judgment, reaction times, and coordination, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.
- Vehicle Malfunctions, including Tire Blowouts: Vehicle defects have the potential to cause very serious accidents on interstate highways. A sudden tire burst can make a vehicle veer off its course, leading to chain-reaction collisions.
- Adverse Weather Conditions: Georgia is prone to a mix of weather conditions ranging from heavy rainstorms to fog. Wet roads can reduce tire traction, leading to skidding. Thick fog can severely diminish visibility, making it hard for drivers to see vehicles ahead.
What Makes Highway Pile-Up Accident Claims Especially Complex
Highway pile-up accidents are among the most challenging to navigate in the realm of personal injury claims. These multi-vehicle crashes introduce layers of complexity that are not present in more straightforward accidents. Here are some notable reasons why these crashes can be especially difficult to unwind:
- Multiple Parties Involved: With numerous vehicles involved, determining liability becomes a convoluted process. Each driver may have a different version of events, and there are potentially multiple insurance companies to deal with.
- Shared Fault: In some cases, more than one party might share the blame for the accident. Indeed, this is especially common in multi-vehicle highway pile-up accidents. Dividing fault percentages can complicate claims.
- Varied Extent of Damages: In a pile-up, some vehicles may experience minor damages while others are completely totaled. Similarly, the severity of personal injuries can range widely, from minor bruises to life-threatening conditions.
- Overlapping Insurance Policies: With multiple insurance policies in play, determining which policy covers which damage or injury can be confusing. Some drivers may be underinsured or not insured at all.
- Evidence Collection: The chaotic nature of pile-ups can make evidence collection a challenge. By the time authorities arrive, the scene might be altered, and crucial evidence might be lost or obscured. A proactive investigation is an absolute must.
Get Help From an Auto Accident Attorney in Atlanta
At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Atlanta auto accident lawyers are trustworthy, reliable advocates for our clients. If you or your loved one was hurt in a highway pile-up crash, we can help. Give us a phone call now or contact us online to set up your no cost, no obligation consultation. With law offices in Atlanta and Augusta, we injured victims throughout Georgia.