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Case Studies of Major Auto Accidents in Florida History

Car Accidents

Car accident claims are among the most common cases that personal injury lawyers handle. In 2023, there were nearly 400,000 car accidents across the State of Florida. Because they are so common, we tend to forget just how dangerous they can be. Reviewing the most significant car accidents in Florida history, however, can remind us of the risks we face every time we get on the road. Regardless of history or statistics, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. Your attorney can protect your rights and help you pursue a claim for the compensation you need to rebuild your life. 

January 26, 2002: 27 Car Pileup on Alligator Alley

In the early morning of January 26, 2002, fog closed in on the stretch of Interstate 75 known as “Alligator Alley” between Naples and Fort Lauderdale. The accident began when a westbound car carrier truck collided with a pickup truck and a car due to the fog. The initial collision pushed the pickup truck into the eastbound lane, causing six subsequent accidents on both sides of the interstate. Ultimately, the accident involved 27 vehicles including 16 semi-trucks. I-75 was closed for hours in both directions to allow for cleanup and rescue. Tragically, three people were killed and 13 people were injured as a result of the accident.  

January 9, 2008: 70 Car Pileup on Interstate 4 in Polk County

Smoke from nearby controlled wildfires combined with fog created a “superfog” that made it nearly impossible for drivers to see in the early morning of January 9, 2008. The accidents took place over a 15-mile stretch of the interstate between Tampa and Orlando. 4 people were killed and more than 38 people were injured. 20 of the vehicles involved were semi-trucks. Visibility was so poor that rescuers had to walk the interstate on foot to check for injured motorists. One of the first people injured in the accident was a Polk County Sheriff’s deputy, who reported that the visibility went from slightly foggy to total darkness almost instantly. 

January 29, 2012: Accident Involving 16 Vehicles on Interstate 17

In another “superfog” accident, smoke from wildfires at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Gainesville combined with a blanket of fog to create zero-visibility driving conditions, even with headlights. Beginning at approximately 3:45, dangerous driving conditions caused a chain reaction, multi-vehicle accident involving six tractor-trailers and 10 cars. Despite the relatively low number of vehicles compared to some of the other accidents on this list, 10 people were killed and 18 were injured.  

October 5, 2012: 47 Vehicle Accident on Interstate 75 

This accident occurred on the border of Sarasota and Manatee Counties as a result of white-out rain conditions. Due to the poor visibility and slippery road conditions, the accident began around 3:30 p.m. and closed a section of I-75 for approximately 6 hours. The accident involved 47 vehicles in 12 separate collisions, including both passenger vehicles and commercial trucks. 52 people were injured within 22 being transported to local hospitals with critical but non-life threatening injuries. 

January 5, 2017: 22 Car Pileup on Interstate 95

This accident occurred in the late hours of January 5, 2017, just North of Jacksonville in Nassau County. Traffic was stopped due to a prior accident involving two vehicles when a tractor-trailer truck slammed into one of the stopped vehicles, pushing it into the cars in front of it and triggering a chain reaction accident that would involve 22 cars. I-95 was closed for 8 hours to allow workers to deal with the accident. 13 people were injured and an 18-year-old was tragically killed. 

April 15, 2022: Orlando Accident Involving 43 Vehicles

Heavy rains and poor visibility led to dangerous driving conditions on State Route 408 near Orlando on April 15, 2022. The accident occurred during the evening rush hour when traffic was heavy, quickly involving 43 separate vehicles. All lanes were blocked and the road was closed for several hours. Thankfully, no one was killed and only minor injuries were reported. 

Poor Visibility Is a Common Cause of Multi-Vehicle Accidents

All but one of these multi-vehicle accidents was caused by poor visibility. Nighttime driving combined with rain, fog, or smoke can be incredibly dangerous. In each of these accidents, the inability to see other vehicles stopped on the road led to subsequent accidents. As a result, we recommend that you get off the road as soon as possible if you find yourself driving in conditions with poor visibility. 

If you are involved in a car accident in poor visibility, it is critical to remember that oncoming vehicles may not be able to see you. As a result, you should make every effort to make yourself visible – turn on your hazards and put out flares or reflectors. That said, you are much safer if you remain in your vehicle and should only get out of your vehicle if you are certain that it is safe to do so. Keep in mind that you may not be able to see oncoming vehicles due to the poor visibility. 

The Challenges of Multi-Vehicle Accidents

Multi-vehicle accident claims are challenging because it can be incredibly difficult to determine who is at fault. In some of these cases, such as the I-4 Polk County accident, the accident may not be anyone’s fault. Regardless, the best thing to do is contact an experienced car accident attorney if you have been injured in a multi-vehicle accident. They will be able to review your case and determine whether someone should be held accountable for your injuries and other losses. 

Contact Searcy Denney if You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident

A car accident can change your life forever. At Search Denney, we help car accident victims get the compensation they need to make a full recovery. To discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 800-780-8607 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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