Image source: KOMO News
Washington State Patrol troopers are reporting that an estimated 17 vehicles were involved in a massive crash on Friday morning. The incident happened on Interstate 5 at approximately 9 a.m. near East Yesler Way in downtown Seattle. Two northbound lanes of the interstate were closed while investigators examined the scene and cleared the roadway.
According to Trooper Rick Johnson, the massive incident was caused by one woman driving a 2012 Toyota Camry. She apparently began driving erratically on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and her spree of crashes ended on Yesler Way. Her car eventually came to a stop because it was too damaged from multiple crashes to be driveable. Emergency responders believe that she may have been having a psychotic episode that caused her to behave erratically on the road. She has been taken to a Harborview Medical Center and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Police do not believe that drugs or alcohol were factors in her erratic behavior.
One injured driver received treatment at the scene. Emergency responders are still working at the scene, and did not have information immediately available about the condition of the other drivers who were struck.
When a medical condition complicates an injury claim
If any of the victims of this crash elect to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they may face a confusing legal battle.
In some cases, a sudden medical emergency on the part of the at-fault driver may absolve them of financial liability for damages. However, cases involving successful defenses for sudden medical emergencies usually require the driver to be fully unconscious due to unforeseen circumstances.
Cases involving intentional injuries to other people are also not covered by third-party liability insurance in many circumstances. This is because insurance policies on cars and other vehicles often cover negligence, but not intentional torts. In this case, authorities are not yet aware of whether the at-fault driver intended to harm other people, or whether she did not understand what she was doing at the time of the crashes.
If the driver who was at fault for the collisions was indeed suffering from a psychotic episode, and if an organization such as a government agency was aware that she was prone to these episodes and failed to properly supervise her, the injured victims might be able to file a claim against the agency that could have prevented the crash if they had supervised her properly.
Insurance claims involving so many vehicles and so many complicated legal issues can be difficult to navigate alone. In circumstances like these, it is often a good idea to work with an experienced team of car accident attorneys in order to recover compensation for time off work, medical bills, and other damages caused in a car wreck.