Category Archives: Multi-vehicle Accidents

I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident, Can I Sue The Driver?

This is a common question for many car accident victims. The answer, in West Virginia anyways, is yes – if the driver was negligent. The driver of the car owes a duty to any passengers in the vehicle, a duty not to drive negligently or recklessly. If the driver breaches that duty and ends up crashing the vehicle, either in a single vehicle accident or with another car, then he or she is liable to any passengers, as well as occupants of the other vehicle. This means that the driver’s insurance will be liable for any personal injuries sustained up to the policy limits.

There are other issue however, that need to be examined thoroughly by a West Virginia car accident attorney, such as: are there any other insurance polices that could provide coverage, such as the passenger’s vehicle insurance or underinsured driver’s coverage? Another concern is that if there have been several people injured, there may be insufficient coverage for all of the injured persons. Each situation must be examined individually and will bring unique issues, all of which should be quickly addressed by a West Virginia car accident lawyer.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.


Hearse Leading Funeral Procession Involved in Head-on Collision in Beckley – Creates Unique Car Accident Law Issues

From the Register-Herald today:


A hearse from Ritchie & Johnson Funeral Parlor leading a funeral cortege was involved in a head-on collision Monday shortly after noon.
Rick Barbero / Register-Herald Photographer

A hearse leading a funeral cortege was involved in a head-on collision Monday shortly after noon, according to the Beckley Police Department.

Police said the Ritchie & Johnson Funeral Parlor hearse was traveling northbound around the 900 block of South Kana-wha Street when it was hit by a 1993 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Amanda Bonds. Police did not release her age and hometown.

Police said Bonds was traveling south when her vehicle struck a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche on its driver’s side. Bonds’ vehicle continued south before crossing the center line and hitting the hearse head-on.

The funeral procession was held up for about 30 minutes while the casket carrying the deceased was transferred to another hearse. All of the funeral procession vehicles were using headlights and emergency flashers en route to the cemetery, funeral home officials said.

Police said the accident investigation is ongoing, but citations were pending.

This is an awful situation to have a hearse involved in a head-on collision while actually leading a funeral procession. To those of us who are West Virginia car accident lawyers, this situation creates some extremely unique car accident law issues. For instance, citations are “pending,” but who is going to get cited? There will be several different insurance companies involved, as well as workers compensation. Liability will have to be determined between the three drivers involved. Lastly, given that the hearse was itself struck, there could potentially be some damages claimed by the family of the deceased occupant of the hearse, depending on the circumstances.

Read the full article here.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.

3-Vehicle Wreck in Beckley Sends Five People to Hospital

from the Register-Herald today:

On April 29, a man had just dropped off one of his children at Beckley Elementary School and was traveling south on Eisenhower Drive (U.S. 19) when the driver of a pickup truck lost control, entered the center lane and struck the man’s Jeep.

The Jeep was pushed into the northbound lane and collided with a third vehicle head-on. After the head-on collision, the Jeep left the roadway, crashed through a fence and came to rest on the property at 503 Eisenhower.

A witness said he saw the Jeep cross Wilkes Road, smash through a fence and travel through the yard of a home, accelerating at a high speed, and that when it came to rest, the wheels were still spinning.

Fortunately, a guardrail stopped the vehicle from going into a nearby creek. Guardrails can be either a blessing or a curse depending on the particular circumstances. In this case they were apparently a blessing, as there were two young girls in the vehicle and the driver was left unconscious.

Read the full article here.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.

Comparative Negligence, Proximate Cause, and Intervening Causes in WV Car Accident Law

What is the importance of “comparative negligence”, “proximate cause”, and “intervening causes” in West Virginia Car Accident Law?

“Comparative negligence” comes into play when both parties have failed to act reasonably – for example, when someone speeding in dense fog hits another car that had no headlights on. In a situation where each party has some degree of negligence in causing an accident, the responsibility to the other person is reduced by one’s own degree of negligence. In the example above, the driver going too fast in the fog may be 60% negligent and bear 60% of the liability, while the driver without headlights may bear 40% of the negligence and be 40% liable.

“Proximate cause” is an act which sets off a natural and continuous sequence of events that produces injury. Without the act, no injury would have resulted. Any time you act, you start a series of natural and continuous events to occur (simple cause and effect, like when you touch the surface of still water and ripples are created). Responsibility for an injury lies with the negligent act that produced the injury. For example, suppose you throw a ball that rolls down a hill; after the ball rolls down the hill, a stranger picks it up and throws it through a window, causing the glass to shatter; the glass shards hit a woman, cutting her arm. In this example, although you caused the ball’s initial movement, your act is not the proximate cause of the injury to the woman sitting next to the window. The stranger’s act is the proximate cause of her injury, and he should be the one to pay for her medical treatment.

An “intervening cause” alters the natural and continuous series of events that follows. When an intervening cause is present, the natural chain of events has been changed due to the subsequent act of another, and the first actor may be relieved of responsibility for an injury. In the example above, the act of the stranger picking up the ball and throwing it through the window is an intervening cause which relieves you from the responsibility for injury which may have occurred as a result of your act. The responsibility shifts, and the stranger’s act becomes the proximate cause of her injury.

To bear responsibility for injury to others in a car accident, your negligent action (or failure to act) must be the proximate cause of the injury, without any intervening causes interrupting the natural sequence of events.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.

Yet Another Chain-Reaction Crash on I-77

From the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

Eight vehicles involved in chain-reaction crash on I-77


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A chain-reaction crash Thursday involving three tractor-trailers and other vehicles closed a section of Interstate 77 north of the East River Mountain Tunnel.

The West Virginia State Police, units of the Green Valley-Glenwood and East River volunteer fire departments, and the Bluefield Rescue Squad were dispatched at approximately 6 p.m. after Mercer County Emergency 911 received reports of a wreck in I-77’s northbound lanes two miles north of the tunnel.

A total of eight vehicles, including the trucks, were in the crash, said Trooper M.S. Horton of the West Virginia State Police detachment in Welch. One person was transported to Princeton Community Hospital, but Horton said he did know the extent of that person’s injuries.

Horton was still investigating the cause of the wreck at press time and could not be reached for additional comment. Northbound lanes were still closed as of 8:30 p.m. According to a Virginia State Police dispatcher in Wytheville, Va., northbound motorists traveling for the Easter holiday were backed up for several miles.

At first there were concerns that one of the wrecked trucks was carrying a hazardous chemical. Lt. Scott Cornwell of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department said a truck hauling a chemical was at the scene, but it was not involved in the crash.

Both northbound lanes of I-77 were closed, and the southbound lanes were blocked for 15 minutes to allow emergency units to reach the crash scene, Cornwell said.

Officers with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department also provided assistance at the wreck site.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

Chair Reaction Pile-Up on I-64

From the Charleston Gazette:

Chain reaction pile-up on I-64



Cars backed up for miles in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 after a pileup on the bridge between the Nitro and St. Albans exits of I-64.

After the initial accident, more cars were involved in a chain reaction accident as they tried to stop, said Nitro Fire Capt. Shawn Alderman. About 15 cars were involved and one person was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital, he said.

A red car was smashed against the side of the bridge by a trailer carrying several vehicles. It took rescue workers about 15 minutes to pry open the vehicle and remove the man inside, said Nitro Fire Capt. Shawn Alderman.

“I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a whole lot of car carrier coming at me,” said David Haden, who narrowly avoided being struck by the vehicle. “There was already a wreck ahead of me and I pulled over and then saw the red car get clipped.”
The accident tied up the eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 for about two hours and the westbound lanes for about an hour, he said.

Accident in Greenbrier County


Accident In Greenbrier County

Car clips on the side and stalls in Fairlea.

Story by Adam Baker

FAIRLEA- — One car flipped on its side and stalled traffic during the lunch hour in Greenbrier County.
The wreck happened just before 1 p.m. on northbound 219.

Two cars crashed and one flipped over. Three people were involved in the wreck. No one was hurt.

Traffic was backed up while crews worked the scene. One lane of traffic was able to move during the wreck.
No word on what caused it.