On February 3rd, 2017, a seven-vehicle pileup on the Ryan Expressway in Chicago, IL resulted in 11 people being sent to the hospital. It comes as no surprise to some that a dump truck was involved in the accident, as large trucks are all too often involved in multi-vehicle accidents of this sort. Federal officials have long recognized that large trucks are a significant factor in multi-vehicle collisions, with large trucks represented in 73 percent of fatal multi-vehicle crashes. According to research, driver error accounts for 89 percent of those crashes.
Determining fault in these situations can be tricky. Many multi-vehicle accidents start as more traditional accidents, but drivers trailing the initial wreck are unable to brake in time to prevent additional collisions. In some situations, those immediately trailing the accident do brake in time, only to be rear-ended by those behind them. Large trucks present serious risk factors in these situations, in large part because due to their larger size they cannot brake as quickly as smaller vehicles, nor are they able to change lanes in tight traffic to avoid contributing to the pile-up. For this reason, truck drivers are taught to maintain greater distances from vehicles in front of them. Unfortunately, these recommendations are not always followed, particularly in heavy traffic on highways, freeways, and expressways.
Another factor in many multi-vehicle collisions is that smaller vehicles positioned behind large trucks have their range of vision seriously hampered. A driver of a small vehicle cannot see around the truck to determine whether or not an accident has occurred in front of the truck. Often, the first indication the driver trailing the large truck has that something is wrong is the brake lights of the truck suddenly coming on. This is oftentimes not enough warning for the smaller vehicle to brake or change lanes in time to avoid a collision.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, it is likely that a large truck played some role in the incident. It is well-established that large trucks exacerbate these dangerous situations. Please contact a qualified and experienced attorney who can help you determine what role the truck might have played in your accident.