The crash happened at 6.30am on Wednesday between junction 31 and junction 32 and resulted in the southbound carriageway being closed for eight hours.
It is reported that a black Vauxhall Corsa, driven by a 43-year-old woman, and a maroon DAF HGV were involved in a collision.
As a result of the crash, the Corsa is believed to have collided with the central barrier.
A second collision is then reported between the Corsa, a yellow Volvo HGV and a silver Renault Trafic.
The 43-year-old woman was taken to hospital where she is being treated for life-threatening injuries.
No one else was injured.
The M1 southbound on the approach to the crash was closed for eight hours and traffic had to be turned around from the back of the queue.
Highways England tweeted: "We really appreciate the patience of those caught up in the incident.
"Both M1 and M18 link road traffic being turned simultaneously by multiple Traffic Officer crews."
At 4pm, highways officers began to re-open the M1 and M18 link road, stopping traffic briefly to remove the closures.
A backlog of traffic is likely into the evening.
Anyone who saw what happened, or who has dashcam footage which may help police, is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 115 of February 5.
You can submit dashcam footage via email to [email protected]