A scene straight out of Hollywood action movie unfolded on the interstate near the Norfolk-Virginia Beach border during early morning rush hour on April 15. The incident unfolded on I-264 near the I-64 interchange and the exit to Newtown Road, beginning when a woman driving a Jeep Cherokee felt her vehicle's brakes fail.
Unable to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision, the Jeep's driver jumped out of her still-moving vehicle. Here is how WAVY-TV 10 described the next minute: "[A] 2011 Honda minivan attempted to avoid hitting the woman, but instead crashed into the Jeep. The Honda was then struck from behind by a 2001 Saturn, the Saturn was then struck by a 2013 Hyundai. A BMW also veered off the road and crashed into a Jersey wall."
Four people suffered injuries in the pileup, and the woman who leapt from her driver's seat faces at least one charge of reckless driving related to keep her vehicle under control (understandable, if understated, since no one outside of the Jeep could have steered it responsibly and safely).
Two possibilities immediately present themselves as explanations for why the brakes failed, setting off the series of collisions. The first is that the owner of the Jeep did not keep the vehicle in proper repair. Identified in police reports as a 2002 model, the Jeep could have presented a real danger if it still had its original brake assemblies. Both miles and years degrade each car and truck's mechanical equipment. Performing regular maintenance and acting to prevent breakdowns are responsibilities for every vehicle owner.
The other possible scenario involves defectively installed, designed or manufactured brakes. If the Jeep was equipped with newer brakes that had not exceeded their usable lifespan, mistakes at the service station might have put the assemblies at risk for failing. Similarly, poor practices at a materials supply firm, manufacturing facility or shipping company could have left the brakes unsafe even before they got put on the Jeep and used.
Either situation presents challenges to the innocent victims of the I-264 chain-reaction crash who deserve to hold accountable the person or company that harmed them, Conducting the detailed investigation needed to clearly assign fault may take months. And if it turns out that a brake manufacturer or seller bears ultimate responsibility, taking on a corporation with even the most straightforward and justified insurance claim can seem too difficult to even attempt.
When their health allows, the people injured in this wreck should consider requesting a free consultation with a Virginia Beach-based personal injury and defective products lawyer who can advise them regarding their legal rights to seek compensation and help them identify resources that can speed recovery on insurance claims.