One person died and several others suffered serious injuries after a chain reaction crash in Mississippi involving three tractor-trailers. The accident demonstrates not only the potential for serious harm posed by semi trucks, but also the danger that exists when one wreck occurs, increasingly the likelihood that other vehicles are drawn into the collision.
According to officials from Mississippi Highway Patrol, the accident happened in the eastbound lanes of I-20 and resulted in the death of Billy Robinson, a 48-year-old UPS driver from Alabama. The man was a 29-year employee of UPS and thus had nearly three decades of experiencing operating large tractor-trailers under his belt.
All his years of experience were sadly not enough to avoid the terrible accident that occurred early that morning, a little after 4, in Newton County, MS. Law enforcement authorities say the crash involved three 18-wheelers and happened near the 99 mile marker. All three of the semis were heading east when one of the trucks crashed into another from behind. That accident then caused a chain reaction and the UPS truck driven by Robinson ran into the back of the second truck. Police say there was likely not enough time to react quickly and avoid the first collision. The cause of that first accident remains unknown, though police investigators are working on the case.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car accident occurs once every minute. That amounts to millions of accidents each and every year. Almost one-third of these crashes involve multiple vehicles. These multi-vehicle accidents or pile-ups can occur seemingly out of the blue, with one driver’s distraction or inattention setting off a chain reaction.
Given the thousands of pounds of metal and glass involved, it’s perhaps not surprising that multi-vehicle accidents are notoriously more dangerous and more likely to result in fatalities than two-car crashes. This is especially true in cases involving tractor-trailers, or like this one, involving three tractor-trailers.
Chain reaction crashes are not only more dangerous than two-vehicle crashes, but raise questions of legal liability that most two-vehicle crashes do not. For instance, some people are confused about who is ultimately liable for such crashes. Though the specific facts will determine the answer in each case, a general rule is the person who started the chain reaction crash is found at fault given that the other accidents would never have occurred without this first accident. Sometimes when the secondary accidents occur because of the negligence of those drivers, perhaps by traveling too fast or too closely, liability may be divided with each driver being assigned a share of responsibility for the overall accident.
If you have been injured in a Mississippi car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.