Insurance Answers for Chain-Reaction Crash During Heavy Rains | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

An incident my Virginia Beach-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I reported on shortly after launching this website illustrates many of risks Hampton Roads residents face on local highways. The chain-reaction pileup in Chesapeake also highlighted the tough questions regarding fault, liability and insurance cover that often arise following wrecks involving more than one driver who may be to blame.


During the evening rush hour of June 25, 2009, nearly a dozen vehicles crashed on I-64 near the High Rise Bridge. This was just one of the 21 collisions reported during a 3-hour period, and several people involved required treatment for injuries.

State troopers pointed to heavy rains throughout the area as a factor in why so many drivers crashed. But water on the road, by itself, need not cause drivers to lose control. Keeping one’s car or tuck in good repair and responding appropriately to bad weather conditions go long ways to preventing collisions.

AAA offers these tips for driving in the rain:

  • Prepare for bad weather by ensuring your windshield wipers and tires are in good condition.
  • Turn on your headlights when drops start falling.
  • Slow down and increase the distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Do not stomp on your brakes if you start to hydroplane or skid. Instead, continue looking and steering in the direction you want to travel without jerking the wheel to one side or the other.

No one died in the Chesapeake chain-reaction crash, but many of the individuals involved surely encountered serious challenges while working to recover physically and financially. My colleagues and I know from decades of experience with advising and representing car accident victims that insurance claims adjusters look for any reason to deny coverage or offer minimal settlements.

Insurance company representatives particularly like to raise questions about who was at fault. A multivehicle pileup during bad weather definitely opens up many lines of inquiry regarding which drivers were acting negligently or recklessly in the moments before the collision, and official police reports may provide little clarity.

In such a situation, an injured victim’s best option may be filing uninsured motorist claims with their own insurance companies. The insurance company will still demand proof of injury and try to invoke contributory negligence, but the company will also have to take the request for coverage seriously.