Rear-end truck accidents are among the most dangerous and unavoidable accidents in which accident victims can be involved. These motor vehicle accidents occur unexpectedly when a truck hits the back of a car that is in front of it and usually you are at a complete stop. According to the Federal Carrier Safety Administration, rear-end truck accidents accounted for over 26% of all truck accidents reported in the United States in 2019. These accidents led to 4,689 fatalities, 78,572 injuries, and over 150,000 property damage.
While some minor rear-end truck collisions may only cause property damage, most of these crashes usually cause severe injuries, or even death, and leave the victims with huge financial burden even when the accident was not their fault.
Since any driver or passenger can become a victim of a rear-end truck accident, it is important to understand how these collisions happen, what to do when involved and how you can get legal representation to claim compensation after such collisions.
What Are The Common Causes of Rear-End Truck Collisions?
Most rear-end truck accidents are avoidable. Standard road safety precautions require that all motorists should maintain a safe distance between vehicles so they have sufficient time and distance to brake or stop to avoid hitting the vehicle ahead.
Rear-end truck accidents often happen when negligent drivers fail to maintain this distance. Any driver who rear-ends another vehicle from behind is therefore presumed to be negligent, making it easier for the victim to prove their case. Some of the common causes of rear-end collisions include:
Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving where the diver behind fails to maintain a safe distance and instead purposely tailgates another vehicle. A truck driver may fail to back off to allow adequate stopping distance on the road. This decreases their reaction distance and time, which may lead to a collision if the car they’re following slows down or stops suddenly.
· Distracted Driving
When driving, the driver’s full attention should be on the road. However, common distractions such as using a mobile phone when driving, changing the music, setting the GPS, or even eating or drinking when driving can preoccupy a trucker, causing them to easily miss when the car in-front of them slows down or brakes suddenly. This can inevitably lead to the truck smashing the smaller vehicle from behind.
· Poor Weather Conditions
Elements such as rain, fog, and snow can easily lead to rear-end collisions if the motorist is not careful. A driver may lose control of their vehicle and barrel into another vehicle.
· Mechanical Failure
Unfortunately, brake and electronic failures in a big truck can cause a driver to crash into the cars ahead since they do not have control of their vehicles. For instance, a faulty braking system may make it impossible for a driver to slow down and stop in traffic.
· Excessive Speed
Speeding is a common issue linked to rear-end collisions. When a driver is speeding, they simply don’t have the time to slow down or stop when the driver ahead of them stops suddenly.
· Alcohol Impairment
Truck driving under the influence of alcohol reduces a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, including concentration and reaction times. Other causes of rear end truck accidents may include fatigue and drowsy driving and the inevitable driver’s error.
· Inadequate Space for the Driver To Stop
Trucks require enough space to brake and stop. While some truckers ensure that they maintain enough distance between them and the cars ahead, some drivers will simply pull in front of them and not give the truck drivers enough stopping room.
Common Serious Injuries from Rear-end Truck Crashes
Because of the difference in size and weight between a truck and a passenger vehicle, the results of an accident involving the two can cause severe injuries and fatalities. Even a low impact collision could cause injuries and permanent disability. Some of the common injuries include:
· Facial fractures
· Bruising and contusions
· Spinal cord damage
· Whiplash and other neck injuries
· Sprain and strains
· Traumatic brain injury
· Shoulder injuries
· Knee injuries
· Broken bones
The High Cost of Rear-End Truck Collisions
When a rear-end truck accident occurs, it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney immediately to determine if you’re entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Due to the nature of these accidents, you might face significant physical and emotional pain that cannot be undone.
Bedsides, rear-end truck accidents may also have huge financial burdens that might arise from:
· Expenses for medical treatment and related rehabilitative costs
· Property damage to vehicles
· Lost wages as a result of decreased productivity after the collision
Finding a professional rear-end truck accident attorney will help establish fault in the collision to prove damages.
I Was Hurt In A Trucking Crash. Do I Have A Case?
Well, if a truck smashes into your car, you might be entitled to compensation. But since rear end truck accidents can be caused by a bunch of factors, the victim must prove fault to receive any form of economic or non-economic compensation.
Truck accident personal injury cases are usually complicated and determining liability is a lengthy, time-consuming process. Finding an experienced personal injury attorney who has dealt with truck accidents can help prove the fault of a trucker who rear-ends you.
What Should You Do When Involved In a Rear End Truck Collision?
If you have been involved in a rear end truck accident, there are several things that you should do to get the proper medical and legal care that you deserve:
1. Report the Incident to the police
If you or your loved one has been involved in an accident, the first course of action is to call 911 to request an ambulance. This also allows you to report the crash to the police who will document the accident and your injuries.
2. Gather evidence
If you’re in a position, ensure that you take photos of the incident. Ensure that you take photos of all vehicles involved, their license plates and any damages caused on the cars. If you have been injured, take photos of any bruises, bleeding, and damaged clothing.
3. Get the contacts of all drivers involved
Ensure that you collect the names, license numbers, phone numbers, insurance details, and addresses of all the drivers involved in the crash.
4. Seek medical attention
Even if you feel no pain after the accident, it is important that you see a doctor. Insurance companies may argue that failure to see a doctor means that you were not seriously injured.
5. Seek legal assistance as soon as possible
It is in your best interest to find an experienced truck accident attorney to help you maneuver the legal intricacies of seeking compensation. An experienced rear-end truck accident attorney will help you get the best medical care and help you seek full compensation.
How Can I Start My Claim?
If you have been involved in a rear-end crash, the best chance for getting compensation is filing a claim through a truck accident lawyer. A seasoned personal injury attorney will consider your case and advice on the best course of action.
If you stand a good chance of success, they will help you file a personal injury lawsuit. They can even help gather evidence to prove that the trucker who smashed your vehicle from behind was at fault. A personal lawsuit can receive legal relief and compensation for damages ranging from:
· Medical bills including specialist visits, hospital bills, medical equipment, and prescriptions
· Lost earnings
· Lost wages
· Pain and suffering
· Survivor damages for wrongful death
· Loss of consortium damage for a spouse or partner
If you need more information on what to look for when hiring a truck accident attorney, click here.
Don’t Settle For A Low-Ball Insurance Settlement Offer
Rear end truck accidents can lead to serious injuries and financial losses. After the collision, the at-fault trucker’s insurance company may reach out to you and probably offer you a settlement. This offer is usually way below what will actually cover your damages. If you accept the offer, you automatically sign off your legal rights to getting better compensation.
It is therefore important to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after a collision to help you understand the options available to you. They will assess your case, talk with the insurance and other parties involved, and help you get a fair settlement.