2015 started with a bang as whiteout conditions and icy roads resulted in a massive multi-car accident in western Michigan. On top of closing a freeway and ruining a whole lot of people’s days, this accident is already causing special challenges for the drivers, investigators, and insurance providers.
On Friday morning, January 9, 2015, the snow was blowing and the weather was so cold that the salt on the road wasn’t doing enough. On I-94 between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, driving was tough. Then two collisions in short order blocked both eastbound and westbound travel and started the worst pile-up multi-car accident in memory according to Nick Scirripa, MDOT spokesman.
After a chain of crashes, a total of 193 vehicles, including 76 semi-trucks had been affected. Among the trucks were a tanker hauling formic acid and a trailer hauling 40,000 pounds of commercial fireworks. The firework truck caught fire, stopping any reconstruction until it had burned itself out. In total, the highway was closed for 43 hours.
Sorting Out the Wreckage
Most of the vehicles were towed away by only a few companies, and by Sunday morning they were still working on documenting and sorting them all out. When there are so many vehicles involved, it can be hard to keep track of which car belongs to whom.
“We can release them now, but right now we are trying to match people with vehicles. Some (cars) are so mangled we can hardly tell what they are,” said Mindy Cason with McClaine’s Towing Service, on Sunday morning. McClaine was responsible for 21 of vehicles.
Reconstructing the Crash
To determine what caused the accident, which will affect which insurance companies the affected drivers file claims with, the Michigan State Police will have to reconstruct exactly what happened leading up to the massive multi-car accident. There is also a possibility that the crash is a result of a problem with the road design. MDOT is insisting the accident was caused by “driver behavior” but the investigation is just getting started.
Balancing the Blame
Once the investigation is done, it will be up to auto accident attorneys and insurance companies to sort out where each accident victim’s benefits will come from. When there are multiple potential at-fault drivers, this can become a very complicated negotiation. Anyone who suffered injury or damage to their cars in the crash would be smart to get a lawyer soon, so they can be involved in the talks from the start.
David Christensen and his team at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan know what it takes to protect their clients when the insurance companies start pointing fingers. They will work with auto accident victims and their families to be sure their benefits are paid and their medical expenses are covered. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a multi-car accident, contact Christensen Law for a free consultation today.
Image Source: Valley Weather