Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) February 17, 2014 — A massive pileup on I-94 in Michigan City, Indiana involved 46 vehicles, left three people dead and injured at least 23 others.
The accident occurred on January 23, 2014 during an intense snowstorm that reduced visibility to near zero. Allegedly, 18 tractor-trailers were involved. One eyewitness told the Boston Globe that he believed one of the trucks started the chain-reaction accident when it jackknifed and ran into another truck.
Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney David Lietz says that the conditions and the number of semi-trailers involved raises questions about whether the drivers should have been operating their vehicles.
“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules prescribe “extreme caution” during hazardous conditions such as those occurring at the time of the accident,” Lietz indicated. “They go on to say that the driver should pull over and stop the truck under “sufficiently dangerous” conditions.”
The pileup began in the afternoon about 60 miles east of Chicago. Jerry Dalrymple, 65, of Chicago was killed along with his Labrador Retriever, Sparky. Thomas and Marilyn Wolma, 67 and 65, respectively, of Grand Rapids, Michigan also died. Two others were critically injured. As temperatures hovered around 10 degrees, at least one victim remained trapped in his car for several hours before rescuers could get to him.
Hundreds of cars came to a standstill on eastbound I-94, the main thoroughfare between Chicago and Detroit, and the backup lasted at least five hours. A band of heavy snow dropped one to two inches of accumulation per hour in the area.
“Inclement weather can create conditions so hazardous that accidents seem unavoidable,” adds Lietz. “But commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard, and they must not drive if it is impossible to do so safely. For the sake of those injured and the families of those killed, it must be determined whether these accidents could have been prevented, and, if so, whether the tractor-trailer drivers are culpable.”
“Proving liability in cases like this is not easy, and I recommend that anyone involved in such an accident speak with an attorney experienced in tractor-trailer litigation,” suggests Lietz.
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