Late last week, a 63-year-old Pennsylvania woman crashed into seven vehicles on Route 772 in Lancaster County. The woman struck several vehicles, including a school bus, before slamming into a car carrying local high school students. The crash killed two of the students and severely injured three more. Unfortunately, multi-vehicle crashes like this are on the rise, and drivers are not always aware of their responsibility in these types of accidents.
Multi-vehicle crash statistics
In the past few years, studies have found multi-vehicle crash fatalities have increased by over 1,500 people per year. That is around an 11 percent increase from the year before, as opposed to single crash fatalities that only increased by 4 percent. Additionally, the number of fatalities in multi-vehicle rollovers increased by over 12 percent.
While there is little research into why this has increased, multi-vehicle crashes are often the result of poor weather conditions, such as fog, rain, snow or ice. While vehicles can try to prevent these accidents by slowing down and giving cars ahead and behind enough room, it is not always that simple.
Factors to determine fault
It can be hard to determine who is at fault in a multi-vehicle accident. For instance, if you hit the car in front of you and that car hits another car, are you responsible for both accidents? Unfortunately, that question depends on a variety of the following factors:
- How hard were you going when you hit the first car? If the cars in front of you were not in motion, you could be responsible for causing those accidents too.
- Were the cars in front of you in motion? If so, you might only be responsible for the first car you hit. If the driver you hit was following too close to next car, you likely would not be responsible for that accident too.
- Were you hit from behind after you hit the car in front of you? If so, you could be responsible for the car who hit you, unless that driver was following you too closely.
Pursing compensation for these multiple car accidents can be complex. If you were involved in a multi-vehicle crash, speak to a trusted attorney in your area to determine the next steps you need to take.