Most rear-end collisions are fairly simple. The vehicle in the rear caused the accident by following too closely to the car in front or by distracted driving. The damage to the vehicles normally indicates that a rear-end collision happened – the car that caused the accident is damaged in the front and the car that was struck is damaged in the rear. It shouldn’t take much more than showing the damage and some testimony from the people in the car that was struck to convince an insurance adjuster or a jury that the driver in the rear is responsible and that the case should proceed to the damages phase.
Even the damages phase is usually fairly clear. Many victims in a car that was struck in the rear suffer whiplash and soft tissue injuries. Some passengers and the driver of the car that was struck could suffer head injuries and broken bones if the rear-end collision was forceful enough.
Rear-end commercial truck accidents have a few additional factors that may mean more work needs to be done to prove fault. The injuries from rear-end truck accidents are often more serious.
More force means more serious injuries
Passenger cars are simply no match for the size, dimensions, and weight of commercial trucks. It’s one thing to be struck in the rear by a small sedan. It’s quite another to be struck by a huge 18-wheeler towing a full load of approximately 80,000 pounds that, even if the truck is traveling slowly, can crush most of your vehicle because the front of the truck is much taller than the rear of your car and the mass of the truck means the force of the collision can be quite extreme.
Suddenly, those cuts and lacerations and whiplash injuries which normally require a few weeks to heal can become traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, crush injuries, and other injuries that may cause a lifetime of pain.
Chain reaction accidents
Rear-end collisions can easily cause chain reactions. When multiple cars are waiting for a light to change, if a moving car strikes the rear of the car that is last in the stationary line, that last car can be pushed into the car in front which in turn can be pushed into another car – and so on – until the car first in line is struck in the rear. Because trucks are so much bigger than cars, when a truck causes a rear-end collision, the odds of a chain reaction increase, along with the severity of the injuries.
Chain reaction cases are much more complicated than single accident cases because there are multiple plaintiffs. There may also be multiple defendants depending on how the chain reaction occurred. While the occupants of each car will blame the truck that caused the initial collision, the occupants could also blame the drivers of the other vehicles for being too close or not paying attention.
In most car accidents, only the driver is responsible for the accident. When a commercial truck rear-ends other vehicles, however, other defendants may also be responsible. If a truck driver was working for a company when the rear-end accident happened, the employer may be liable for the negligence of its employees. The owner of the truck, if different than the driver or the company the truck driver was working for, may be liable for the negligence of the driver. Other companies may be liable, such as a trucking broker, if the driver was making a delivery when the rear-end accident occurred. When there are multiple defendants, there are also multiple insurance policies, which can become quite confusing, and is why it is important to retain knowledgeable attorneys that understand how to appropriately handle a trucking case.
Other complications and considerations when trucks cause rear-end collisions
In some cases, the driver of the truck may not stop, perhaps because the driver didn’t know a collision had occurred because the car (not the truck) takes the brunt of the force. Our lawyers then work with the police to locate the hit-and-run driver.
Newer trucks are using Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) systems to help avoid accidents. FCW systems could be especially useful for trucks trying to avoid a rear-end collision because trucks need much more time and distance to stop safely when hauling a load.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our Savannah truck accident lawyers have earned the respect of clients, insurance companies, and defense lawyers for our record of successfully obtaining large settlements and verdicts. We demand full compensation for all your economic and personal damages. To speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer, call our lawyers or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Jed Manton is committed to representing individuals and business that have been harmed by the actions of others. With a solid track record, Jed has helped numerous clients who have been seriously injured or who have lost a loved one obtain justice, while holding the wrongdoer accountable.
Read more about Jed D. Manton here.