Interstate 5 Accidents
Interstate 5 (I-5), called the Golden State Freeway, is a 28-mile stretch crossing through Los Angeles County. It is always congested with thousands of drivers daily, all at risk of being injured in accidents due to negligent drivers, construction, and other common hazards.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident on Interstate 5, we could help you.
Our injury practice is dedicated to helping people injured in freeway accidents throughout California. We know the dangers of driving on Interstate 5, where car accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries and death.
We believe you are entitled to compensation for your losses regardless of the cause of the accident. We have the negotiating skills to handle all your claims and will always protect your rights.
We also know how to obtain significant settlements. We will always seek to win the maximum compensation you deserve, inside or outside the courtroom.
What Are the Common Causes of I-5 Accidents?
I-5 has heavy congestion with commuters and commercial vehicles. Put simply, it's dangerous, and accidents are often caused by the following:
- Unsafe lane change;
- Stop-and-go traffic;
- Distracted driving;
- Texting and using a cell phone;
- Reckless driving;
- Drunk driving;
- Drug-impaired driving;
- Fatigued driving;
- Unsafe construction sites.
Many accidents on I-5 occur at slow speeds in heavy traffic. Still, they can cause serious injuries, such as whiplash. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable as they weave through lanes of traffic. Regardless of the cause of the car accident where you were negligently injured, we can pursue the compensation you deserve.
However, you must prove that the other driver's negligent or reckless conduct caused the accident resulting in your injuries. This is why you need to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can effectively demonstrate the necessary elements of negligence in an injury claim.
What Are the Common Injuries?
All motorists in California have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely to avoid injuring other people.
The common injuries on Interstate 5 accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Broken bones and fractures;
- Back injury;
- Neck injury;
- Loss of a limb;
- Organ damage;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Property damage.
We understand that the medical expenses alone can become overwhelming. However, we can help you by providing quality legal representation to cover medical costs when needed.
What Damages Can You Recover in an I-5 Accident Claim?
You will need an experienced legal team to build a successful injury claim. Our business is seeking compensation for victims of negligence, and we are dedicated to winning.
You could be awarded damages for the following:
- Medical and surgical costs;
- Rehabilitation costs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Property damage;
- Permanent disability.
If a family member was killed in an Interstate 5 accident, you could recover damages such as funeral expenses, medical costs, and loss of support through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Example of an Interstate-5 Accident
It was the day after Thanksgiving, 1991. A six-year drought in California's San Joaquin Valley had led to extremely arid conditions.
Typically a productive agricultural region, the fields north of Coalinga, CA, had been left fallow due to the dry spell; with no plants or roots to help anchor the soil, the landscape was barren—except for a great deal of dry sand and dust.
It's impossible to quantify just how much dust, of course, but let's just put it this way: when it was stirred up that day by unusually high winds—a nearby weather station clocked them at 48 mph, although there were anecdotal reports of even higher speeds —the resulting dust storm was so intense that it created near-zero visibility conditions in mere seconds.
The dust storm, in turn, caused an incredible and devastating series of chain-reaction collisions on Interstate 5. In total, an astonishing 104 vehicles, clustered into roughly five separate pileups, were involved.
What On Earth Happened?
Not surprisingly, the Interstate 5 dust storm would go down in history as one of the worst vehicular accidents since the advent of the automobile.
And it seemed to come out of nowhere, in no time flat; one moment, drivers were cruising along, perhaps en route to begin their holiday shopping—it was “Black Friday,” after all—or simply heading home after Thanksgiving travel.
Then next? Drivers were virtually blind, and the visibility was so bad. Then, for 103 of them, the terrifying sound and jolting impact of hitting another vehicle they'd not even seen.
The din and crashing, incredibly, did not stop. As soon as one motorist inadvertently slams into an invisible vehicle in front of them, more cars would materialize, some traveling upwards of 50 miles per hour and joining the fray.
Occasionally a semi would crash into a cluster of smoking vehicles or crush a compact car; one trucker steered his big rig into a ditch to avoid an inevitable collision with several other cars.
The Dust Storm's Devastating Toll
The pileup would eventually stretch over one and a half miles of I-5 and involve 104 vehicles (93 passenger cars and 11 tractor-trailers). The wreckage was later found as far as four miles away, on either side of the interstate.
On the following day, 150 miles of I-5 were closed to through traffic as cleanup efforts began. But by far, the most significant toll would be the 17 deaths as the dust swirled over and around the mangled metal heaps and the additional 150 people who sustained injuries but survived.
Traffic accidents rarely make history since they generally only involve a handful of unfortunate motorists and passengers.
However, the 1991 Interstate 5 dust storm still looms large in the memories of its victims. It remains a fascinating chapter in California history, in addition to a cautionary tale about conserving our environmental resources and practicing responsible land stewardship.
It also resulted in extensive litigation, with many affected Californians blaming state and federal agencies for not closing the road in time to prevent the deadly pileup.
The State of the Interstate Today
Unfortunately, the freeway is still a dangerous route to drive. Not because of dust storms but simply due to the congestion.
I-5 is one of the country's busiest roads. According to an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one stretch of roadway near Sacramento was the site of 13 deaths between 2017 and 2019.
A few other findings about highway crashes from the same study:
- The stretch of I-5 between Exits 138 and 129 is the deadliest section of road in the state;
- Los Angeles County had more deadly car accidents than anywhere else in California;
- Speeding was a factor in over a quarter of all wrecks;
- In 27% of fatal accidents, intoxicated drivers were to blame;
- November is California's most deadly month when it comes to its roadways; Experts attribute that to holiday-related travel;
- Interestingly, distracted driving was only a factor in 4% of California crashes. That's better than almost every other state.
Chances of experiencing another deadly dust storm like the one in 1991 are low—thankfully. Accidents due to other causes, however, will likely continue to affect motorists across California, including the hazardous roadway that is Interstate 5.
How Can We Help You with Your Interstate 5 Claim?
Our legal team is experienced in representing people in car accident claims. We can handle all the details, such as the following:
- Investigating the accident,
- Documenting your injuries,
- Negotiations with the insurance company, and
- Filing necessary court motions.
We have a track record of achieving significant settlements. We work in your best interests and fight for financial compensation that considers all your future medical and financial needs.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident on I-5, you can seek the maximum compensation you deserve from the at-fault parties. You can contact our law firm for a free consultation by phone or using the contact form. Injury Justice Law Firm is located in Los Angeles, CA.