By: Allan M. Siegel
Maryland State Police are looking for an unidentified tractor-trailer and
its driver after it triggered an 18-vehicle pile-up Monday morning on
Interstate 270 in Germantown. According to authorities, the truck made
an unsafe lane change into the right lane of the four-lane highway and
caused another vehicle to slam on its brakes, leading to a chain reaction.
The wreck, which occurred around 5:00 am, shut the I-270 down for hours
and created gridlock on the morning commute.
At least two dozen victims suffered injuries in the crash and were treated
at the scene by paramedics, and at least four victims were taken to a
local hospital. Authorities say it is fortunate more motorists were not
severely injured based on the extent of damage. One of the vehicles caught
in the crash was a flatbed tractor-trailer, one of three trucks involved
in the pile-up, which spilled its load of slate slabs across the road
and caused additional damage.
The tractor-trailer that started the chain reaction did not remain at the
scene, and authorities are hoping witnesses and others with information
will step forward to provide additional details. They state the crash
happened in Germantown between Maryland 124 / Montgomery Village Ave.
and Middlebrook Rd. Authorities have little to go on aside from the description
of the white tractor-trailer.
Multi-Vehicle Collisions & Liability
As one of the largest pile-ups on I-270 in recent memory, Monday’s
crash involved 18 vehicles, some of which were damaged so badly they had
to be removed by tow truck from the highway. It also resulted in dozens
of injuries. Though most victims were treated at the scene, at least four
were transported to a local hospital with more serious injuries.
While dozens of injuries is nothing to take lightly, this crash could have
been much worse given the fact that it involved nearly 20 cars, trucks,
and SUVS, and because it occurred on an open Interstate in the early morning
hours, where vehicles are traveling in limited light and at higher rates
of speed. Multi-vehicle collisions are notorious for their devastation,
including the increased likelihood of injuries, serious injuries, and
death. According to NHTSA, multi-vehicle crashes (those involving more
than one vehicle) account for roughly a third of all annual motor vehicle
collisions in the U.S. Pile-ups involving as many vehicles as 18 are much rarer.
As authorities continue to search for the driver of the tractor-trailer
that sparked the pile-up due to an unsafe lane change reported by witnesses,
the crash helps highlight the challenges injured victims may soon face
in their quest to hold an at-fault part liable for damages. Because pile-ups
involve multiple vehicles, determining fault and liability for the crash
can be challenging. However, through investigatory work, it may be possible
for victims to pursue compensation from multiple parties that share the
blame and responsibility for damages. That’s especially true if
some motorists are found to have been partially at fault for contributing
to the wreck – especially if they could have avoided crashing into
the pile-up or other vehicles that have already sustained impacts if not
for their negligence, such as if they were driving distracted, without
their lights on, or speeding.
Although shared liability may apply to some multi-vehicle accidents, others
may be caused entirely by a single at-fault driver. In this particular
case, authorities believe that driver may have been behind the wheel of
a commercial truck that made an unsafe lane change and failed to remain
at the scene. Without locating that driver, victims injured in this wreck
may have a difficult time recovering their damages. As such, they must
explore all potential options for liability and compensation, including
establishing fault and liability for other motorists involved and / or
seeking compensation through their own auto insurance – which is
why adequate coverage, including UM and UIM coverage, is critical in situations
As a firm that represents
car accident and
truck accident victims in difficult cases throughout Maryland, Virginia, and the District
of Columbia, Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is available
to help anyone who was involved in Monday’s multi-vehicle crash
on I-270. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you better understand
your rights and available options when it comes to seeking financial compensation
for your injuries and other losses.
Contact us today to learn more.