Chain Reaction Car Accidents

Chain Reaction Car Accidents in Boston

We have all been listening to the traffic WBZ News Radio 1030 at one time or another and heard about a massive multi-car pileup on Massachusetts Turnpike (Mass Pike). We have all likely been watching the evening news and seen the aftermath of a serious chain reaction car accident involving several different vehicles and possibly pedestrians.

While it may be hard to imagine exactly how this accident occurred when looking at the aftermath, it is up to our experienced Boston car accident lawyers at the Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers to do exactly that and fight for our clients’ rights to the full and appropriate financial recovery to which they are lawfully entitled.

What is a Chain Reaction Collision?

There are basically two types of chain reaction car accidents seen in and around Boston. The first type of action occurs when one vehicle is ahead of many other cars and those vehicles are following too closely. This is considered a violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 14, which addresses “Precautions for safety of other travelers.” The regulation contained in this section is what people often refer to as tailgating.

For one reason or another, the lead vehicle stops abruptly, and this causes the vehicles traveling behind to slam into each other, resulting in a massive multi-vehicle accident with many people hurt or even killed. When there are multiple victims, the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) or Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) can declare what is known as a mass casualty incident, resulting in the dispatching of more first responders and possibly asking for assistance from other jurisdictions.

Vehicles that are traveling too close to the car ahead cannot stop in time. This will result in that car being part of the chain reaction collision. In other cases, the driver may have been leaving adequate distance but was slammed into by another vehicle and pushed ahead into the vehicle in front. In some cases, we are dealing with large trucks that take plenty of distance to stop and can plow into several vehicles ahead, causing serious personal injury to many victims.

Tanker trucks can be among the most difficult vehicles to stop in a chain reaction collision on the Mass Pike, because, not only is the load extremely heavy, but the liquid inside the tank will shift forward when the truck is stopping, and this can push the truck even further. In some cases, the liquid will push the truck forward after it has come to a complete stop. Trucks normally have separators in the tank called bulkheads to help with this, and these bulkheads still have holes called baffles that serve to slow the liquid. Milk trucks are actually the most dangerous, because they cannot have baffles because they can develop bacteria and are too hard to clean.

The other type of chain reaction collision an occur when one vehicle crashes into another and one or both of these vehicles spin out and hit pedestrians or other vehicles. Our Boston car accident lawyers have seen chain reaction crashes where a vehicle slammed into a parked car and that parked car resulted in serious personal injury or even death to people walking on the sidewalk.

What Makes Multi-Vehicle Car Accidents in Boston Different?

There are a variety of reasons these accidents can be much more complicated than car accidents involving fewer vehicles. One of the problems is that there are often far more victims and far more damage that a single car accident liability policy will cover.

For example, as explained by the Massachusetts Attorney General, the Commonwealth requires anyone who owns a motor vehicle to have at minimum, the following four types of coverage:

  1. Bodily Injury to Others
  2. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  3. Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Motorist (UIM)
  4. Damage to the Personal Property of Others

It should be noted, as our Boston motorcycle injury lawyers can explain, the requirement for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is not applied to those who own motorcycles, so in the vast majority of cases involving motorcycle crashes, this will not be available.

In addition to the required types of coverage, there are minimum coverage limits established under our state law. The law requires a motor vehicle owner to carry minimum bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per personal injury person. The law also requires a minimum of bodily injury protection of $40,000 per accident. The law also requires a property damage coverage of at least $5,000 and $8,000 of PIP per person per accident. As for the UIM coverage, that is up to the limits for your bodily damage to others.

Boston car accident lawyers will often express this minimum as 20/40/5. While many people choose to purchase more than the state minimum, which is a very good idea if you have a decent income or own significant assets, including a home, others will choose to carry the state minimum. If you have ever been on the T, you have likely seen ads for companies offering the state minimum at a cheap price.

In a chain reaction collision, if there is only one at-fault driver, the most that driver’s insurance company will pay is up to the limits of their policy. If they have the state minimum, that means they will pay one person up to $20,000 and a total for $40,000 for the entire accident. This means that your Boston car accident attorney will have to explore other avenues of recovery. This can include other at-fault drivers and your own UIM policy coverage.

However, this can get extremely complicated, so you want to make sure your attorney has experience dealing with these types of serious chain reaction car crashes in the greater Boston area. Another thing to keep in mind is that some drivers may be both plaintiffs and defendants. The driver may have been negligently hit by a car from behind, but also negligently ran into the car in front as they were tailgating. This is an extremely complicated but common situation, and these lawsuits can involve many cross-complaints between the various parties. This is another reason that you should make sure your attorney has experience dealing with these issues.

Some of our Successes:
  • $425,000 – Person injured in a rear end accident
  • $750,000 – Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Drunk Driver
  • $1,025,000 – Man injured in auto accident sustaining multiple injuries.

Contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation.


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