Rear-end truck accidents typically result from truck driver and trucking company negligence. Depending upon the impact force, accident victims may suffer severe injuries, many of which require hospitalization, ongoing medical treatment, and physical therapy.
If you suffered injuries in an accident involving a large truck, such as a tractor-trailer, 18- wheeler, or big rig, you have legal options available to you. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your accident and develop a plan for moving forward.
Your lawyer can then file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurance company and work to negotiate a favorable settlement offer. If the insurance company does not compensate you appropriately, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit in court and pursue the total amount of damages that you deserve.
Common Locations for Rear-end Truck Accidents
A rear-end truck accident occurs when the front of a large truck or tractor-trailer strikes the back of another vehicle. While these accidents can happen just about anywhere that vehicles are present, they are prevalent in specific locations.
Busy traffic intersections are one of the most common locations for rear-end crashes—especially when truck drivers are fatigued or fail to pay attention to the road. These accidents can also occur at intersections when drivers tailgate and fail to leave enough room between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.
Rear-end truck accidents also happen on busy highways, especially when a sudden traffic slowdown occurs. The slowdown might happen due to a nearby accident or construction that’s going on in the area. When a truck driver fails to leave enough stopping distance or is speeding, they might collide with a vehicle in front of them, causing a severe accident and injuries. In some instances, one violent crash can lead to a multi-vehicle pileup, causing numerous drivers and their passengers to suffer injuries.
If you sustained injuries in a rear-end truck accident at a traffic intersection or on a busy highway, you should speak with a truck accident lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and, if necessary, retain an accident reconstructionist. Your lawyer can then determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim. If so, your lawyer can file a claim with the insurance company and pursue the money damages you deserve.
The MNH Injury Team Gets Results
Common Causes of Rear-end Truck Crashes
Rear-end truck accidents happen for various reasons, but the most common cause is driver negligence. A truck driver is negligent when they operate their vehicle unreasonably under the circumstances. A careless or reckless truck driver typically undertakes an action that a hypothetical reasonable truck driver would not have undertaken under the same or similar circumstances.
Alternatively, the negligent truck driver might refrain from doing something that a reasonable driver would have done under the same circumstances. Some of the most common examples of truck driver negligence that cause rear-end accidents include violating road rules, distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and fatigued driving. These accidents can also happen when drivers violate motor carrier regulations.
Truckers often violate road rules when they are in a hurry to get to their final destination. Common road rule violations that cause rear-end crashes include speeding, tailgating other vehicles, aggressive driving, and failing to use the proper signals when executing turns and lane changes. These aggressive driving maneuvers might prevent a driver from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a rear-end crash.
Distracted driving is another common cause of rear-end truck accidents. A distracted driver fails to give sufficient attention to the road. Instead of the road, the driver might be looking at a cellular phone, tablet, or GPS navigation system. Alternatively, they might be listening to loud music in their vehicle or conversing with someone in the vehicle.
Even a one or two-second distraction or head turn can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road and prevent them from noticing an abrupt traffic slowdown—or some other emergency situation that unexpectedly arises. Consequently, the inattentive truck driver might negligently cause a rear-end crash with the vehicle in front of them.
Intoxicated driving can also cause a rear-end truck collision. In most circumstances, a driver is legally intoxicated if a Breathalyzer device determines their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or more. However, the law holds commercial truck drivers to a higher standard. Truck drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of 0.04 percent or more.
Alcohol significantly impairs truck drivers’ ability to operate their vehicles safely. An intoxicated truck driver may experience blurred vision, an inability to concentrate, and delayed reaction time. They may also have difficulty judging distances between vehicles. Therefore, an intoxicated truck driver can easily collide with the vehicle in front of them, causing the occupants to sustain whiplash and other serious injuries.
Finally, some truck accidents happen when drivers experience fatigue. Truck drivers are often in a hurry to get their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule. In some instances, this is because the trucking companies that employ them offer financial incentives—including bonuses—to drive fast.
Many truck drivers drive for hours without stopping and taking breaks. At other times, drivers may resort to controlled substances to keep themselves awake for long periods of time. However, these substances can sometimes have the opposite effect and make a driver feel sleepy while behind the wheel.
Whenever a truck driver is tired, they might be unable to concentrate on the road or fall asleep at the wheel. Consequently, they might not see the vehicle in front of them and cause a rear-end accident.
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end truck accident that resulted from driver negligence, you are not alone. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can help you take the necessary legal steps and pursue the total amount of monetary damages you deserve.
Trucking Company Responsibility for a Truck Accident
In some instances, trucking companies are responsible for their drivers’ negligent acts while they are on the job—and while acting within the scope of their employment. This is called vicarious liability. At other times, accident victims can hold trucking companies responsible for negligently hiring, retaining, or failing to supervise a problem driver who has a prior record of moving violations or DUI arrests.
If you suffer injuries in a rear-end truck accident, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against both the responsible truck driver and the trucking company that employs them, seeking the damages you need.
Injuries that Truck Accident Victims Suffer
When a large truck strikes a smaller passenger vehicle in the rear, it is usually the passenger vehicle driver and occupants who suffer the more severe injuries. This is especially true if the collision involves a significant amount of force. The impact force from behind may cause the accident victim’s body to abruptly lurch forward and backward or from side to side.
This can cause various soft tissue injuries, including whiplash and other muscular contusions. At other times, the impact force may cause a part of the accident victim’s body to strike something in their vehicle. For example, the accident victim’s head might strike the window, headrest, or steering wheel, causing a concussion or other traumatic brain injury. Finally, the impact force might cause a broken bone, spinal cord injury, paralysis injury, or internal organ damage.
As soon as possible after a truck accident, the accident victim should seek medical care and treatment through a local urgent care center or hospital emergency room. This treatment is vital because, in many instances, injury symptoms do not manifest right away.
Instead, it might take days or weeks for these symptoms to appear and cause the accident victim pain. At the emergency treatment facility, a medical provider can examine the accident victim and order the necessary MRIs, X-rays, and brain scans to determine their medical condition. If they require additional treatment, the provider can make those recommendations.
While you focus your attention on recovering from your truck accident injuries, your lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your claim, including obtaining necessary documents and preparing a settlement demand letter on your behalf. After you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit the claims package to the insurance company adjuster. If the adjuster accepts fault for the accident, your lawyer can begin negotiating settlement compensation for you.
When it comes to settling your truck accident claim, you are the final decision-maker. Therefore you—and not your lawyer—must decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system.
Deadline to File a Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Time is of the essence in most truck accident claims and lawsuits. This is because truck accident victims do not have an unlimited period of time in which to take legal action and recover monetary compensation in their case. In almost all circumstances, truck accident victims only have two years from their accident date in which to sue for damages. Therefore, it is essential that you retain a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area to represent you as soon as possible.
Once you retain a lawyer, they can determine the statute of limitations filing deadline and, if necessary, file a lawsuit immediately to ensure the statute of limitations does not expire in your case. This will safeguard your ability to recover monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered. Your lawyer can then begin litigating the case in the court system and negotiating with the insurance company adjuster handling your claim.
Recovering Damages Following a Truck Accident
Rear-end truck accident victims are often eligible to recover monetary damages in their personal injury cases. The types and amounts of recoverable damages usually depend upon the extent of their injuries—and whether or not their injuries are permanent. A permanent injury is one that is unlikely to become symptom-free over time. In addition, insurance companies, juries, and arbitrators will consider what, if any, lost wages the accident victim accrued.
When an accident victim has to miss work time to recover from their injuries—or because they cannot complete their job duties—they may be eligible for lost wages. To prove lost wages, the accident victim’s employer must submit documentation that shows the number of days the accident victim missed from work and the amount of compensation they lost.
Moreover, if they have to switch jobs or careers at a lower pay rate, they can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity. If the insurance company awards them compensation, they can recover damages for the difference in salary between their former and current positions.
In addition, some truck accident victims are eligible for non-economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their suffering, pain, inconvenience, mental distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, permanent disability, disfigurement, and loss of spousal consortium and companionship.
A skilled truck accident lawyer in your area can help you maximize the damages that you recover in your personal injury case. If the insurance company adjuster does not offer you a fair value for your claim, your lawyer can file a lawsuit, litigate it in the court system, and bring it to a favorable conclusion on your behalf.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident resulting from negligence, your first step should be to seek the medical treatment that you need. Next, you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer in your area who can help you handle the legal components of your claim.
Most often, your dispute will be with the insurance company that handles the trucking company’s insurance. You don’t want to take them on by yourself. Your lawyer will be by your side from the beginning of your case until the very end, advocating for you and protecting your legal interests. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize the damages you recover—either through settlement compensation or litigation.
Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.