What Can Cause a Pileup on the Highway?

January 2, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
What Can Cause a Pileup on the Highway?

Pileup Accidents on the Highway Can Lead to Severe Injuries

One of the most dangerous types of car accidents is a pileup accident. This type of accident occurs when an initial vehicle collision doesn't give the vehicles coming from behind enough time to react, and multiple vehicles pile up on top of each other. The force of the cars toppling each other can lead to severe injuries, including broken bones, crush injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and more.

If the chain reaction of a pileup accident left you with an injury, a car accident lawyer could help you assess whether a car accident claim is the right choice for you. With a successful car accident claim, you could potentially receive compensation for the injuries caused by the pileup accident.

What is a Pileup Accident?

A pileup accident is a type of multi-car collision in which two cars crash into each other, and the vehicles behind them cannot stop in time before piling on top of them.

The chain reaction of the initial accident could lead to other accidents, with other cars crashing into the first two cars. It is also common for cars to avoid the initial accident by swerving into another lane and causing another accident.

These pileup accidents can damage many cars, depending on the traffic density at the time of the initial accident. Although a pileup accident can involve only a couple of vehicles, the most dangerous pileup accidents can exceed ten vehicles, with reported pileups with over 100 vehicles involved in the crash.

Florida Highways Are a Common Site of Pileup Accidents

Although pileup accidents can happen on any road or street with multiple cars flowing in the same direction, the most deadly pileup accidents happen on the highway. Not only is a highway where traffic is heaviest, but it is also where cars are traveling at the highest speeds. 

High speeds prevent cars behind the initial accident from making an evasive maneuver and can lead to a pileup.

Tailgating Causes Pileup Accidents

Tailgating is the act of driving too closely behind the vehicle in front of you. A vehicle is tailgating if a sudden stop would not leave enough distance to brake before crashing into the stopped vehicle ahead. Tailgating on the highway leads to rear-end collisions, which can set off a chain reaction leading to a pileup accident.

If a driver's tailgating causes an accident, it can leave a short reaction time for the vehicles following closely behind. If all of the vehicles following behind cannot stop or make an evasive maneuver, they will crash into the initial two cars and cause a pileup accident.

Pileup Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is when a driver takes their eyes off the road due to a manual, visual, or cognitive distraction. These distractions can include but are not limited to eating, drinking, texting, adjusting with the radio, or engaging in a heated conversation with a passenger. With the driver's eyes off the road, they won't be able to react accordingly to what is in front of them, which can cause an accident.

In 2019, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people. With the speed drivers are going on the highway, distracted driving can lead to a high-speed collision, serving as the inciting incident for a pileup.

If a vehicle stops in front of a distracted driver, they won't be able to react in time to stop their vehicle. A crash with a distracted driver that is traveling too quickly can lead to an unavoidable pileup accident. Cars careening away from a distracted driving accident can also lead to a pileup.

Weather Conditions Leading to a Pileup Accident

One of the most common causes of pileup accidents is adverse weather conditions. Whether it be a winter storm, rain, or dense fog, terrible weather conditions can reduce a driver's sight as they navigate a highway. Without a clear vision of what's in front of them, it can be hard to react accordingly.

Weather such as rain and snow can make it more challenging to control a vehicle. The roads can be slick with sleet or rain, and keeping complete control of the vehicle can be near impossible. 

This lack of control can cause a car accident and make it difficult to avoid an accident that has already occured. A pileup can intensify because other drivers cannot control their vehicles enough to avoid the initial accident.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Pileup Accident?

Liability in a multi-car accident like a pileup is much more complicated than in a two-car accident. Because of the number of vehicles involved, there may have been multiple drivers involved that operated their vehicles negligently and caused severe damage.

The first place a car accident lawyer will look for liability in a pileup is the initial accident. If the driver who caused the initial accident acted negligently by for example, not employing safe driving techniques in severe weather, they could be held responsible. 

They can be the at-fault party if their actions caused the chain reaction, and there was nothing any other driver could do to avoid the accident.

Drivers Not Part of the Initial Crash Can be Liable

Just because one driver was negligent in causing the initial accident does not remove responsibility from the negligent behavior of other drivers. For example, a driver may have been distracted and unable to respond to the initial accident in time. This can lead to another chain of accidents for which they would bear partial liability.

Other parties possibly held liable could include the employer of a driver that caused an accident while on the job, or a designer, manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a faulty car or car part that helped cause the accident.

Filing a Car Accident Claim for a Pileup Accident

Since Florida is a no-fault state, drivers must hold personal injury protection insurance that covers damage from a car accident up to $10,000. If your injuries exceed your personal injury protection limit, a car accident lawyer may be able to assist you in filing a car accident claim to potentially receive compensation for your injuries.

A car accident lawyer can help sort through the possible liable parties for your injuries since liability in a multi-car accident can be so tricky to determine. On top of that, they can help you file the claim, collect evidence to prove liability, send out the demand letter, negotiate a settlement, and represent you in court should the case escalate to a car accident lawsuit.

Some of the damages you could receive from a successful car accident claim include, but are not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Car Accident Lawsuit

At Dolman Law Group, our experienced car accident lawyers are determined to work as diligently as possible to help you potentially receive compensation for your injuries. Car accidents can come with emotional and mental issues, especially an accident as damaging as a pileup. We will be there to work toward you getting fair compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.

Get in touch with Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation. Call 833-55-CRASH or leave us a message on our online contact page.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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