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Risk of Secondary Crashes in Illinois

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents


Car accidents can be overwhelming, especially if they involve multiple cars. That’s why secondary crashes can be particularly scary. A secondary crash occurs when an initial accident causes another one. If you get into a secondary car accident and believe you deserve compensation for your injuries, you may be facing a complex claims process that involves multiple parties, insurance companies, and attorneys. You need the help of a dedicated lawyer who will look out for your interests and ensure that your rights are protected.

Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 to find out how we can help you.

What is a Secondary Crash?

A secondary crash usually takes place as a result of a preceding motor accident that, directly or indirectly, caused the second accident. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), secondary crashes are unplanned incidents that occur as a result of a primary incident in the same scene or within the line of traffic in either direction. The FHWA estimates that as much as 20 percent of accidents can be categorized as secondary crashes. Often, these accidents can be just as serious as the primary crash and may even cause more severe injuries. In the worst-case scenario, a single high-speed collision can cause a domino effect of multiple secondary crashes, resulting in a chain reaction of collisions with the potential for life-threatening and disabling injuries.

Causes of Secondary Crashes

There are many dangerous or reckless behaviors that can lead to car accidents, and those behaviors can also result in secondary crashes. For example, many secondary crashes take place because drivers are paying attention to the initial crash scene rather than to driving and the road in front of them. This can often result in rear-end collisions and sideswipe accidents caused when the driver drifts in and out of their lane.

Aggressive drivers are already at a higher risk for car accidents. The risk intensifies around accident scenes. Drivers who speed when there is an accident that just took place in the vicinity may find themselves in a secondary crash. Drivers have to be able to adjust driving behaviors quickly in the event of a preceding crash, such as slowing down or safely moving into other lanes. The effects of a crash on traffic can cause inattentive or reckless drivers to become involved in secondary crashes that are sometimes more serious than the primary collisions.

Chain Reaction Car Accidents

More severe secondary crashes can be chain-reaction accidents where the primary impact was sudden and caused other drivers to attempt to avoid a collision, but they ended up crashing into each other. The risk of injury and death exponentially increases with these chain reaction crashes, especially if it involves high-speed or multi-directional collisions.

One example of a chain reaction accident is when a car rear-ends another vehicle on a busy road, and then gets rear-ended by the vehicle following it, which then causes a chain of rear-end collisions. Another example is when two vehicles collide on a busy highway and one of the vehicles is propelled into the lane of oncoming traffic, causing other cars to swerve into each other.

Secondary crashes can present complex legal problems in terms of establishing liability. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. has compassionate lawyers with decades of combined experience in personal injury law who can help you gather evidence, analyze the facts, and negotiate aggressively for your interests. Insurance companies are often in chaos when it comes to multiple vehicle accidents, which may end up in court. Our attorneys will work with you from beginning to end, including any settlement negotiations and trial, if necessary.

Call our experienced attorneys today at (312) 236-2900 for a free, initial evaluation of your case.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900