Dangerous Road Conditions to blame for numerous Multi-Car Collisions on Hwy 401

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on January 12, 2017

Some of the victims of a huge multi-vehicle car accident on Highway 401 on January 7th commented that they felt ‘lucky to be alive’.  Slippery road conditions, blowing snow and whiteouts caused dangerous driving conditions on Canada’s busiest highway and contributed to as many as 100 collisions east of Scarborough, between Bowmanville and Port Hope.  Accidents occurred in both the eastbound and westbound lanes of the highway.

Part of the highway was closed down for about nine hours as emergency vehicles dealt with damaged and stranded vehicles.  Many of the collisions involved multiple vehicles, including tractor trailer trucks, yet most of the accidents were fender benders. Some accident victims were taken to hospital with minor injuries, and it is astonishing and fortunate than no one sustained life-threatening or fatal injuries.

In winter storm events such as the one that occurred on Saturday, even experienced and cautious drivers can become victims of a multi-car collision.   However, as this is unlikely to be the last winter storm in 2017, these accidents may serve as a ‘heads up’ for all Ontario drivers to pay close attention to the road and drive slowly whenever road conditions are not ideal.  Of course, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to avoid being involved in a multi-car collision, such as these recent events, when other vehicles are losing control around us.  However, in most cases, we can avoid crashing or rear-ending another vehicle when the roads are slippery or in reduced visibility simply by adjusting our speed appropriately.

Finding fault in a multi-vehicle collision.

When car accidents occur during treacherous winter road conditions, police may not lay any charges for traffic violations against a driver who lost control, unless there is evidence suggesting that the driver was driving too fast or engaged in another action that contributed to the accident.  However, whether or not you were charged by police or found ‘at fault’ in causing an accident, every Ontario driver can claim statutory accident benefits from their own vehicle insurance company.

In the case of a rear-end collision, which commonly occurs in multi-car accidents, an insurance company will use the Fault Determination Rules under the Insurance Act, to determine whether the insured driver was wholly or partly at fault in the accident.  Fault determination greatly depends on whether the involved cars were stopped or moving at the time of impact.  The Fault Determination Rules effect whether your insurance rates will be increased -- although many policyholders are allowed ‘one strike’ against them before their insurance rates rise -- and are independent of police accident reports for the collision.

When someone is injured in a car accident, including a multi-vehicle collision, the accident victim may also be eligible to file a civil suit for damages against the ‘at fault’ driver.  Experienced Scarborough car accident lawyers with the ILO group have successfully represented many accident victims and their families.  If you were injured and are considering making a claim for owed compensation, call our office today to have your questions answered and find out about the strength of your claim. 




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