A massive, weather-related series of crashes resulted in one death and the shutdown of Interstate 5 near Portland for several hours recently, after some 28 cars and tractor-trailers collided.
The pileup occurred around 10 a.m., with several other crashes reported around the same time elsewhere on the interstate. Fire and rescue officials reported the weather conditions changed rapidly, causing the pileup to unfold quickly. Officials say two major wrecks occurred at the same time, while several dozen other smaller accidents were also happening simultaneously.
The Portland car accident attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis recognize that these kinds of crashes are not only extremely common this time of year, but they can be incredibly difficult in terms of establishing liability. Attempting to obtain compensation can quickly turn into a battle for those who have been injured or those who have lost a loved one.
The biggest issue is attempting to determine who is at-fault. While it’s easy to blame the weather, the greater factor is that typically, drivers are traveling at rates of speed that are too fast for the conditions.
When those motorists then encounter ice-slicked roads or sudden low-visibility due to snow squalls, the results can quickly turn tragic.
Multi-Vehicle Collisions Happening Daily
USA Today recently reported that there had been at least one pileup somewhere in the country each day since Dec. 1.
In all of 2013, reporters at the newspaper counted 107 highway pileups on U.S. roads, with more than half of those triggered by bad weather, mostly snowstorms, icy roads and freezing rain. The majority of those wrecks occurred between December and February.
Drivers have to bear in mind that posted speed limits take into account the safest speed for optimal conditions. Any time inclement weather is even a possibility, drivers need to proceed with caution and reduce their speed.
The I-5 incident was rare only in that someone was killed. In most reported pileups, vehicle occupants survive. However, many sustain serious injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association has reported that the average critically injured survivor of a car accident will incur roughly $1.5 million in costs.
But whether victims are actually compensated often depends on the experience of their personal injury attorney, who must be dedicated to thoroughly investigating the negligence and liability of each vehicle involved. Insurance claims adjusters will be working diligently to prove that their own firm carries little to no liability.
Unfortunately in a fair number of these cases, determining liability could be an impossibility. For example, the largest interstate crash in Ohio history occurred last January, involving some 90 vehicles and resulting in the death of a 12-year-old girl. Investigators spent months sorting through the details of the crash. In the end, a 260-page report found it wasn’t possible to determine fault.
In these cases, individuals will likely be filing claims with their own insurance company. Here again, having an experienced attorney on your side is to your benefit.
Contact Portland car accident lawyers Zbinden & Curtis today at (503) 287-5000 or by visiting www.zbinden-curtis.com for a free case consultation.