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In the blink of an eye, your world turned upside down: you got involved in a rear-end tractor-trailer accident, an unforeseen event that shattered your daily life. You may have experienced feelings of overwhelm, helplessness, vulnerability, and frustration.
The path to recovery after such a calamity is often fraught with physical and emotional pain. Your injuries may have left you with mounting medical bills, lost wages, and an uncertain future. You may find it hard to complete simple tasks, a constant reminder of how this devastating event has disrupted your life.
An experienced rear-end accident attorney can guide you through the complex legal domain of personal injury lawsuits, and fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve. With an empathetic and knowledgeable legal professional, you can focus on healing and regaining control of your life.
The Dangers of Tractor-Trailers on the Road
Rear-end truck collisions occur when the front of a large truck crashes into the rear of another vehicle, typically one that is smaller in size. These accidents can lead to devastating consequences for all parties involved, resulting in severe injuries and extensive property damage. While not as common as other car accidents, rear-end collisions involving tractor-trailer trucks still pose a significant risk on roads and highways.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 22 percent of large trucks were involved in rear-end crashes. Additionally, 5,237 big rig accidents resulted in fatalities in 2019.
Rear-End Trailer Truck Collisions: Unpacking the Main Culprits
Rear-end truck collisions are a common type of auto accident when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. These collisions can cause significant damage to passenger cars and often result in serious injuries or even fatalities. Some of the most common causes of a rear-end collision include the following:
- Distracted Driving - Distracted driving ranks as a major cause of rear-end truck accidents, often due to drivers focusing on their phones, eating, adjusting radio settings, or using GPS. Even a momentary distraction can lead to catastrophic consequences on the road.
- Speeding - Truck drivers may be more likely to speed when trying to meet tight delivery schedules or regain lost time on the road. When 18-wheelers speed, they have less time to react to changes in traffic patterns or sudden stops in front of them.
- Tailgating -Trailer truck drivers who fail to maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles put themselves and other motorists at risk of severe accidents. Due to their size and weight, these vehicles require longer stopping distances than passenger cars, increasing the likelihood of a collision if they follow too close.
- Driver Fatigue -Truck drivers often have demanding schedules and may need more rest to drive for long hours, leading to drowsiness. Drowsy driving can impair concentration, reaction times, and decision-making abilities, which are crucial when driving a large commercial vehicle.
- Maintenance and Brake System Problems - Brake failure is one of the major causes of rear-end truck accidents. Poor maintenance, defective equipment, or driver error can cause brake failure. Large trucks need more time and distance to come to a complete stop than other vehicles.
- Hazardous Weather Conditions - Inclement weather can significantly increase the risk of a rear-end collision. All drivers have limited visibility during heavy rain, snow, or fog. For example, heavy rain limits visibility and reduces tire grip, causing hydroplaning, a situation where the tires lose contact with wet roads, resulting in skidding, out of control vehicles.
- Lack of Proper Driver Training - Unfortunately, some trucking companies cut corners on driver training to save money or quickly get new hires on the road. Some drivers may need more experience than they get in training with certain types of cargo, driving in different weather conditions, or understanding how to brake and avoid rear-end collisions.
Impact of Rear-End Truck Collisions on the Body
Those who get involved in rear-end trailer truck accidents can sustain debilitating injuries that drastically impact their lives. Some of the most prevalent injuries include:
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
One of the most frequent injuries sustained in rear-end truck accidents is whiplash. A sudden jolt to the head and neck causes this injury, which can lead to severe pain and stiffness. Whiplash symptoms can take up to 24 hours or more to present, and they may include the following:
- Limited range of motion in the neck or shoulders
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are among the most serious injuries resulting from being rear-ended in a large truck accident. TBIs can occur when an accident victim's head is violently jolted or struck, causing damage to their brain tissues. Symptoms of TBI may include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe injuries resulting from a rear-end collision. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to loss of sensation or movement in certain parts of the body. Victims may experience lifelong disabilities and require extensive medical treatment.
Broken Bones and Fractures
When a smaller vehicle collides with the back of a large truck, the impact can cause significant damage to the passengers inside. Fractures commonly occur in areas like the arm, wrist, leg, or pelvis due to crushing forces generated by these rear-end collisions.
Victims of rear-end accidents can also suffer from internal injuries that are not visible outside. These types of injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Examples include damage to organs such as:
People injured this way may have difficulty breathing due to a punctured lung, often caused by broken ribs. Internal injury symptoms might take some time before appearing, and victims must receive proper medical care soon after an accident, even if they do not feel discomfort.
Being involved in a rear-end tractor-trailer truck or car accident can be an extremely traumatic experience. While physical injuries are often the most apparent consequence of such accidents, psychological trauma can be just as severe and long-lasting. Victims may suffer from the following:
After a Rear-End Large Truck Collision: Steps You Must Take
A rear-end truck collision can be a frightening experience. If you were driving a vehicle rear-ended by a big rig driver, there are certain steps you must take to protect yourself and your legal rights.
- Visit a doctor - After a rear-end collision with a large truck, the first thing to do is seek medical treatment for injuries sustained. Even if you feel fine initially, some injuries may not show symptoms until later.
- Document your injuries - documenting your injuries can help you receive the appropriate emergency medical attention and treatment you need and support any legal claims you may need to make after the accident.
- Collect evidence - Take photos of both vehicles involved, write down the trailer truck's license plate number that hit you, and get contact information from witnesses who saw what happened. This documentation can help support your case if you decide to pursue legal action against those responsible for causing your injuries.
- Speak with an attorney - An experienced truck accident lawyer can guide you on filing a claim with an insurance company and help assess whether pursuing a lawsuit might be the best option based on your circumstances.
The Rear-End Dilemma: Determining Fault in Car Collisions With 18-Wheelers
Determining fault in a rear-end collision can be complicated. The driver who crashed into the back of another vehicle is usually considered to be at least partially responsible for the crash. However, other factors and parties may contribute to causing a rear-end car accident.
- Negligent Truck Drivers - If a tractor-trailer truck driver has rear-ended you in a collision, negligent behavior can include anything from distracted driving to driving too fast. For example, if a big rig driver was texting leading up to the accident, this could be considered negligence.
- Trucking Firm Liability - In the event of a truck rear-ending your vehicle, consider the role that the freight company may have played. For example, trucking companies can be liable if a driver is speeding or tailgating because they get pressured to deliver goods on tight schedules.
- Vehicle and Equipment Manufacturers - Vehicle and equipment manufacturers must design, manufacture, and maintain safe vehicles free from defects or malfunctions. If a defect or design flaw, such as a faulty brake system causes the accident, there may be grounds for a product liability lawsuit against the braking system manufacturer.
Myth or Fact: Are Rear-End Collisions Always the Fault of the Semi-truck Driver?
While it's true that rear-end collisions are often caused by driver error, it's not always the case that the driver in the back is automatically at fault. There are instances where factors outside of a driver's control may contribute to an accident. For example, the lead vehicle at the crash scene may be liable if they were driving erratically or had faulty brake lights.
The Pitfalls of Admitting Fault in Rear-End Accidents
In case of a rear-end collision with a truck, avoid making statements suggesting you were responsible for causing the crash. An insurance company may attempt to use that against you to reduce or eliminate your ability to recover compensation for the injuries you sustained in the accident. You may feel like you caused it but not be privy to all the contributing factors until later, when all evidence is collected. You may find that you were in fact not the cause of the accident, so it is best to refrain from making statements about fault until you have retained a lawyer. Your attorney will handle all communication on your behalf pertaining to the crash.
Fault Finding: How Our Lawyers Navigate Complex Rear-End Collision Cases
When you're a rear-end collision victim, proving fault and holding the other driver responsible for your injuries can be challenging. However, experienced lawyers follow these steps to help you recover compensation:
- Conduct a thorough investigation: Our legal team will gather evidence at the accident scene, including photographs, video footage, and witness statements.
- Review police reports: We will closely review the police report to determine if the tractor-trailer driver had any traffic violations or citations issued.
- Look for signs of negligence: We investigate whether the driver was distracted, speeding, following too closely, or was tired during the accident.
- Check maintenance records: We check trucking company maintenance records to see if equipment failure or lack of maintenance led to the accident.
- Analyze black box data: We analyze data from the truck's electronic control module (ECM), also known as a black box, which contains information about speed and braking patterns.
- Work with experts: We work with experts such as accident reconstructionists and medical professionals who can testify on your behalf in court.
When You're Partially at Fault, Can You Still File a Lawsuit?
In some cases, you may still be able to file a lawsuit even if you were partially at fault for the rear-end collision. Many states follow comparative negligence laws, meaning each party involved can share a percentage of the blame for the accident. For example, if the evidence shows you were 25 percent at fault for the collision and your damages amounted to $100,000, you would still have the right to recover $75,000.
Rear-End Trailer Truck Accidents: The Importance of Pursuing Compensation
A rear-end collision can be devastating, resulting in traumatic injuries, extensive property damage, and even fatalities. If you were rear-ended by a truck in a collision, you might be entitled to the following compensation for your personal injury and losses:
- Medical Expenses - The medical costs associated with rear-end commercial truck accidents can quickly add up, leaving victims struggling to pay for necessary care. Medical expenses include ambulance transportation, hospital stays, diagnostic tests, surgeries, physical therapy, and prescription medications.
- Lost Wages - Settlements or court judgments after these accidents often include compensation for lost income. Keep track of all the days you missed from work, including sick time and vacation days used during recovery. Additionally, document any bonuses or benefits lost due to the accident.
- Pain and Suffering - Those injured in rear-end truck accidents often endure significant pain and suffering following a collision. They may experience constant physical or emotional discomfort depending on the injury's severity. Examples include whiplash, spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
- Property Damage - In a rear-end collision, property damage can be extensive and costly. The impact force between the large truck and a smaller vehicle could lead to significant crunching or crushing that might render the car unsalvageable. Those injured in rear-end car accidents may also recover financial losses for repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle.
Our Attorneys Will Hold The Responsible Party Accountable
At Burg Simpson, we understand that dealing with injuries sustained in a large truck rear-end collision accident are often overwhelming, and the aftermath can be extremely challenging. We are here to take some of that burden off your shoulders. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to holding the negligent parties accountable for their actions and getting you the compensation you deserve.
Our dedicated legal team knows how to obtain evidence, communicate effectively with insurance companies and defense lawyers, and build strong cases against at-fault truck drivers or trucking companies. Whether your case involves income loss, medical expenses, property damage, or pain and suffering damages, we will work to ensure you receive justice.
Don't Pay for Someone Else's Mistake: Get a Free Consultation with a Rear-End Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a rear-end large truck accident, our law firm is committed to advocating for you. Contact us today at 888-895-2080 for a free consultation
. We're here to protect your rights and recover the maximum compensation for your losses.