Dangerous Road Conditions Lead to 23-Car Pile-up in New York’s Orange County

23 car pile-up accident in Orange County, NY, image courtesy of ABC News, http://abc7ny.com/traffic/23-vehicles-involved-in-massive-chain-reaction-pileup-in-orange-county/544147/

A massive pile-up in Orange County, New York shut down the highway for hours on March 4th. The incident, occurring during the morning rush hour in Greenville, New York, involved ten commercial vehicles and 13 passenger vehicles. The road remained jammed for many hours after the original crash.

Authorities investigating the accident say that a combination of perilous road conditions, namely black ice and fog, led to the series of crashes. The chain of events began when a tractor-trailer traveling in the right lane applied its brakes and proceeded to crash into the highway median. This event resulted in five additional vehicles crashing, including two other commercial vehicles and three passenger vehicles. After that, five commercial vehicles and two passenger vehicles (one of which was a New York Department of Transportation plow truck) became tangled. Two more incidents involving only passenger vehicles, and a fifth involving two commercial and two passenger vehicles, brought the final tally of involved vehicles up to 23.

Ten people involved in the crash were taken to the hospital with injuries, but all were expected to recover.

Hazardous Road Conditions and an Abundance of Commercial Vehicles Lead to Heightened Perils of Driving

Black ice is an especially dangerous winter road condition. If possible, avoid the road on days where there are icy conditions, as it is especially difficult to control your vehicle when there is ice on the road, and where the ice is difficult to identify. As snow melts quickly, flooding of roadways can occur. Additionally, should the temperature go back below freezing after thawing has begun, then roads can become dangerously icy.

Determining liability and recovery for an accident such as this one involves consideration of a number of complex factors. For example, several commercial vehicles were involved in the pile-up. Companies operating a commercial fleet of large trucks bear a responsibility to ensure that those trucks are carefully maintained to keep them safe on the road. If the trucks involved had bald tires or brakes that required replacement, the trucking company could be held liable for resulting crashes. Additionally, the company must ensure that drivers are fit to work and have received adequate time to rest between shifts. If a driver is impaired from lack of sleep or intoxication, and a crash results while that driver is carrying out employment-related duties, then his or her employer may also be partially liable. Finally, the sheer number of drivers involved leads to greater complexity in assigning responsibility for damages among insurers.

Car accident investigation needs to be done quickly after a crash, as evidence can be quickly moved or destroyed. Investigations become even more complex when multiple vehicles are involved. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car crash, don’t wait to contact seasoned attorneys in the field of personal injury and car accident law. Basch & Keegan’s attorneys are well-versed in pursuing recovery for damages incurred in car accidents in the Kingston, Ulster County, or greater Hudson Valley area. Call (845) 338-8884 for a free consultation.

(Image courtesy of ABC News)