What to Know About a Rear-End Collision with a Semi-Truck

As the economy booms, more and more big rigs are out on the road, delivering goods to keep the shelves stocked. With more trucks on the road, this brings the possibility of more read-end truck accidents. In 2018 alone, there were more than 4,100 people killed in truck vs car collisions. Sadly, the vast majority of those fatalities were the occupants of the smaller vehicles. This is because the sheer size, weight, and speed of semi-trucks create an immense amount of force when it collides with an object. 

damaged car following a rear end accident

A rear-end truck collision can be devastating for everyone involved. This is true whether you rear-ended the truck or the truck rear-ended you. It’s important to know what your rights are and what to do after a rear-end truck collision. 

What Happens if I Rear-End a Semi-Truck?

What happens when you rear-end a semi-truck usually isn’t pretty. When this type of accident occurs, the results can be devastating to the driver of the other vehicle as well as anyone else that may be in the roadway. Even though the truck driver is trained and experienced to maneuver their big rig so it will arrive at its destination safely, accidents still happen.

There are several legal remedies available when you are involved in a truck accident. You should consult with an accident attorney as soon as possible. The first thing that an attorney will do is to assess the type of legal action that you might be eligible for. For instance, if you rear-end the truck, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the trucking company if the truck driver was at fault. The trucking company may be held liable for not properly maintaining their semi-truck. An accident attorney will also evaluate the other party’s case and advise you of the best course of action.

An experienced accident attorney will have an inside view of what happened during the accident. Therefore, they can advise you of the best legal action to take. An experienced semi-truck accident attorney can analyze the trucking company’s insurance policy to determine whether the truck driver who rear-ended you was lawfully at fault. A semi-truck accident attorney can also help you determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering and other damages.

What Can I do if I was Rear-Ended by a Semi-Truck? 

If you were in an accident, there are a few legal avenues that may be open to you, depending on the type of accident that occurred. If you were injured in a wreck caused by the negligence of the truck driver, the best course of action is to contact a personal injury attorney. An attorney will interpret the various laws and regulations regarding trucking accidents.

A personal injury attorney can help you determine whether your damages should be paid out by your insurance provider or pursued through a lawsuit. If your insurance provider pays, your attorney can often help pursue additional damages through the court. If your insurance company does not cover all or some of your damages, an attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.

What Causes Most Rear-End Collisions? 

Rear-end collisions occur most often because drivers are unable to take evasive action for one reason or another. Common causes of rear-end collisions include: 

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failure to yield
  • Driving too fast
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating or drafting a semi-truck
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving
  • Environmental conditions
  • Traffic congestion or road construction
  • Merging or changing lanes too quickly
  • Mechanical issues
  • A truck driver is too close to the vehicle in front and cannot see it
  • Inexperienced drivers

The best way to avoid such a common cause of rear-end collisions is to drive as safely as possible, adhere to traffic laws and regulations, watch your driving closely, and always be prepared to take swift action if necessary. With these tips in mind, you should be able to have a much safer driving experience.

What Kinds of Injuries are Sustained in a Rear-End Collision? 

Several different things can result in an accident that impacts the type and severity of injuries. For example, an accident that involves multiple impacts will likely be more detrimental than a single-impact. The list of possible injuries is quite long, but some of the most common injuries are listed below:

Bruises and Lacerations. Bruises and lacerations are the most common kinds of injuries that people suffer in a rear-end collision. When a vehicle is hit from behind, the backside of the vehicle often experiences the maximum amount of impact. This means that debris can lurch forward in the vehicle and strike the occupants. Lacerations may also occur from blunt trauma or shards of glass, metal, and.

Broken Bones.  Broken bones often occur from similar causes as bruises and lacerations. Flying debris, impact force, and extremities becoming trapped in wreckage are the most common causes.

Internal Organ Injury. If a person is rear-ended, the chances of suffering a serious injury to the internal organs is high. This is especially true if the vehicle becomes wedged between the vehicle in front of and behind it. 

Head Injuries and TBI. This is arguably the worst possible injury that a driver can suffer in a crash. The impact of the collision may cause a person’s neck to whiplash and hit the steering wheel, dashboard, or door.

Neck Injuries. Neck injuries are the most common kind of injuries sustained in a rear-end collision. The severity can range from minor whiplash to a broken neck. Neck injuries can cause dizziness, shortness of breath, and headaches, among other symptoms. Some of these symptoms may not appear for hours or days after the accident.

Who Is At Fault in a Rear-End Truck Collision? 

Some people are under the assumption that the driver in the back will always be at fault for a rear-end accident. However, this is not always the case. With the proliferation of scammers and road-rage drivers “brake-checking” other vehicles, accident investigators may scrutinize this type of accident. Investigators will piece together the details of the accident to determine who is at fault. 

Determining liability in an accident is a tricky process because it involves looking at many different factors. When determining liability in an accident, these factors will all have varying effects, although each case is unique in its own right. Here are some things that investigators look for after an accident when determining liability in an accident:

  • The location of the accident – Was there heavy traffic? Environmental hazards like bad weather? Road construction? 
  • Events leading up to the accident – Was there road rage involved? Was either driver under the influence? Was the trucker in compliance with the laws on driving time limits? Did one vehicle make any unsafe maneuvers?
  • Mechanical deficiencies – Was the truck in compliance with DOT regulations? Did either vehicle suffer mechanical malfunction? 
  • Probability of accident avoidance – Could either vehicle have reasonably avoided the accident?

What is the Average Settlement for a Rear-End Accident? 

There is no way to get a true answer to this without speaking to an attorney. This is because the award amount will differ based on the individual circumstances of each case. Most rear-end accidents are much less likely to end in a settlement because they usually only involve minor bodily injuries or property damage. One of the few cases that rear-end collisions actually benefit from a settlement is one that involves detrimental personal injury. If the accident results in permanent physical damage or a debilitating condition, damages awarded in a personal injury case are often substantial.

The number of damages in a case will be determined by a court based on the gravity of the accident. For instance, if the accident occurred because the truck driver was not in compliance with federal laws, the court may award punitive damages. Some of the factors that will play a role in the determination of damages are the amount of property damage (e.g., car, medical bills, or other things); past, present, and future medical expenses; and the degree of mental agony that was experienced by the person injured.

However, Florida uses the rule of pure comparative negligence to determine settlement amounts. What this means is that if you are found to be partially liable for the accident, your award may be reduced by the percentage you were responsible for. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault, your settlement will be reduced by 20%.

If a person is involved in a rear-end truck collision, they need to retain the services of a qualified accident lawyer. A lawyer will be able to determine whether or not there were any legal negligence issues that may have resulted in the accident.

Should I Hire a Rear-End Truck Accident Attorney? 

Yes, you should if you have been injured in a rear-end truck collision. There are many benefits of hiring an experienced attorney to represent you. Especially if your injuries are significant. This is not something you want to try to handle on your own.

A qualified professional can help you get the money you deserve when you are injured in a semi-truck rear-end accident. An experienced attorney can help you find damages that compensate for lost wages, medical expenses, and other potential losses associated with your accident. An experienced attorney will also be familiar with the laws governing truck accident lawsuits. They can help you deal with insurance adjusters and determine the best course of action.

At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we are committed to providing you with the best legal support and guidance possible. We proudly serve the Treasure Coast area, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce, and Okeechobee. Start working with a knowledgeable, experienced semi-truck rear-end accident lawyer in Florida by scheduling your free consultation or call us toll-free at (866) 460-1990.

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