Rear-End Truck Accidents

Rear-End Truck Accidents

In a rear-end truck accident, the weight of a truck translates to significant crushing power, and those in vehicles rear-ended by a truck may face life-threatening danger.

Make hiring an attorney a priority if you or a loved one were in a rear-end truck accident. Your truck accident lawyer will seek fair compensation for your damages that stem from injuries or the loss of a loved one.

Rear-End Truck Accident Guide

Rear-End Truck Accidents Cause Injuries and Claim Lives

Truck Accident Attorneys in Houston

Large trucks can outweigh smaller vehicles by 30 times. No matter how strong a vehicle’s crashworthiness rating is, it may be unable to protect passengers from the rear impact of a large truck traveling at high speed.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that nearly 5,000 fatal accidents involving large trucks (or buses) can occur in a year.

Even when accident victims emerge alive from their truck accident, they may suffer:

  • Disabling injuries
  • Injuries that cause long-term symptoms
  • Immense psychological and emotional trauma
  • Total property damage
  • All things being equal, truck accidents are more dangerous than accidents involving smaller vehicles. In addition to the greater size and weight of large trucks, their cargo may pose a risk of exposing accident victims to hazardous materials, falling in the roadway and causing accidents, or falling on top of moving vehicles.

    Knowing the extreme risk of truck accidents, trucking companies and truck drivers must exercise immense caution in all aspects of trucking.

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    Why Do Rear-End Truck Accidents Happen?

    Each truck accident requires examination by attorneys, insurance companies, and experts in auto accidents. While the details of each truck collision are unique, some common causes include:

    Truck Driver Negligence

    Motorists are the most common cause of motor vehicle accidents, and truck accidents are no exception. Trucks are exceptionally difficult to drive due to their size, weight, height, and complex operating features.

    The slightest error by a truck driver can cause a collision, and common forms of truck driver negligence include:

    • Speeding
    • Tailgating
    • Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs
    • Driving while tired
    • Changing lanes without signaling or clearance
    • Running red lights
    • Failing to stop completely for stop signs and yield signs 
    • Distracted driving 

    There are trucking industry safeguards to reduce the risk of driver negligence. For example, FMCSA explains that truck drivers must take regular breaks in accordance with hours of service regulations. Truck drivers must also take drug and alcohol tests.

    Yet, even with these safeguards, truck drivers cause accidents through careless and reckless behaviors. When a trucker causes a collision, you can hold them and their employer liable for damages.

    Trucking Company Negligence

    You can generally hold trucking companies responsible for their driver's negligence.

    In some cases, trucking companies contribute to accidents, including:

    • Hiring drivers who lack adequate skill, experience, or licensing
    • Failing to monitor drivers’ fitness for the job, including their medical condition, license status, relationship with drugs and alcohol, and driving performance
    • Failing to replace outdated or otherwise dangerous vehicles
    • Allowing or encouraging drivers to disregard industry rules, including hours of service regulations
    • Failing to sanction drivers for dangerous driving behaviors appropriately 

    Your lawyer will determine if a trucking company may have prevented your accident but failed to do so. The company may be financially liable even if it did not directly contribute to the collision.

    Failure to Service Vehicles

    Trucking companies and drivers recognize the substantial wear and tear that their vehicles endure. These parties must actively inspect and service their vehicles.

    Drivers must inspect their vehicles before driving and immediately alert their service departments if a vehicle-related issue arises. Trucking companies must service vehicles regularly, demand that drivers with vehicle-related issues bring the vehicle to the service department immediately, and never allow a dangerous vehicle on the road.

    Defective Vehicle Components

    No matter how safely a truck driver operates their vehicle, they cannot overcome a defective vehicle.

    If a manufacturer, seller, trucking company, or the truck fails to inspect the vehicle and detect defects, results may include:

    • Blown tires
    • Brake failures
    • Steering-related defects
    • Other critical failures that can contribute to an accident

    An attorney may hire an automotive expert to determine if a defect contributed to your accident, what the defect was, and who is responsible for the defect.

    If a truck accident results from a cause other than those listed, an attorney and their hired experts will identify the cause and liable parties.

    Recoverable Damages for Victims of Rear-End Truck Accidents

    If you suffered non-fatal injuries in a truck accident, you are fortunate.

    However, you may still face substantial damages, including:

    • Medical expenses
    • Pain and suffering
    • Property-related expenses
    • Professional damages

    When seeking compensation through an insurance claim, you call them losses. If you pursue a lawsuit, you call them damages. However, your attorney can worry about what to call them. If you hire an attorney, they will seek fair compensation for you so you can focus on your recovery.

    Motor vehicle accident costs typically increase as injuries become more serious. This makes sense because those with disabling injuries may require lifelong medical care and rehabilitation, medical equipment, specialized vehicles, and changes to their home.

    Recoverable Damages in a Fatal Truck Accident

    Some truck accidents have the ultimate cost, tragically claiming the victim’s life. These accidents can lead to extremely sensitive cases where surviving loved ones seek justice for their loss, regardless of whether defendants face criminal charges.

    Surviving loved ones of fatal truck accident victims may seek compensation for:

    • Loss of a parent’s guidance
    • Loss of a spouse’s companionship
    • Loss of the decedent’s household contributions
    • Funeral expenses
    • Lost financial support (including the decedent’s lost income and any future bonuses, promotions, and benefits the decedent may have earned)
    • Medical expenses
    • Pain and suffering (including the grief of surviving loved ones)

    Law firms aim to lead wrongful death cases with compassion and professionalism. These cases get justice for wrongful death and a financial recovery that helps surviving loved ones move forward without financial hardship.

    Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Truck Accident? 

    It is your decision whether to hire a lawyer after a truck accident. Some of the leading reasons why truck accident victims hire personal injury attorneys are:

    The Debilitating Effects of Injuries and Wrongful Deaths

    Truck accident victims may not have the physical or mental wherewithal to handle their insurance claims or lawsuits.

    Attempting to lead their own case may:

    • Expose the accident victim to avoidable stress, physical demands, and cognitive demands.
    • Expose the car accident victim to accident details they find traumatic.
    • Worsen the car accident victim’s existing injuries.
    • Slow the recovery timeline for accident-related injuries.
    • Cause the victim to develop new health conditions.
    • Diminish the strength of the case, as the victim may be unable to focus the necessary time and attention on the claim or lawsuit.

    Most accident victims want to return to normalcy as soon as possible. Hiring a lawyer and focusing on your recovery may be the proper choice for your health.

    The Law Firm’s Financial Support and Resources

    Personal injury law firms generally use contingency fees.

    Unlike any upfront or hourly fee, a contingency fee means that:

    • You do not pay the law firm out of your pocket or upfront.
    • The law firm pays the cost of completing your face, including transportation expenses, filing fees, expert fees, and lawyers' time.
    • You agree to provide the law firm a percentage of any settlement or jury award it secures for you (and you know what that percentage is before the case begins).
    • The law firm completes your case.
    • If the law firm secures compensation for you, the lawyer will receive their percentage, and you will receive yours.
    • If the law firm does not win, you won't have to pay anything to the firm.

    The law firm does all the work, and you may benefit directly from that work. Law firms are willing to accept the financial risk of rear-end truck accident cases because, without a client, the law firm will not have a case.

    The Lawyer’s Experience and Training

    Law firms focusing on personal injury deal with insurance claims and lawsuits often, and perhaps daily. These firms will likely better know personal injury law, insurance procedures, negotiating tactics, and lawsuit steps than you do.

    Rather than trying to learn the steps in a claim or lawsuit, many truck accident victims rely on experienced professionals—personal injury lawyers—to fight for their financial recovery.

    How a Personal Injury Lawyer Serves Their Truck Accident Clients

    Personal injury lawyers pursue justice in the form of financial recovery.

    This recovery may come as:

    • A settlement from an insurance company
    • A settlement from liable parties involved in the truck accident (like a trucking company)
    • A judgment awarded by a jury following a trial

    Attorneys take several steps before arriving at settlement negotiations or a jury’s verdict, including:

    • Helping the client deal with insurers: While your attorney will handle most communications with insurance companies, you may need to give one or more on-the-record statements. Your attorney may help you form a written statement, which may be the safest way to provide your account of events.
    • Obtaining accident-related evidence: Video footage of the accident, eyewitness accounts, photographs of vehicle damage, and a police report may be among the evidence your lawyer secures.
    • Securing evidence from the trucking company: A lawyer may file a letter of spoliation, which requires a trucking company to preserve all evidence that can be useful to your claim. Your attorney may want photographs of the damaged truck, the driver’s employment history, data from the vehicle’s black box, and other evidence.
    • Calculating a target settlement value: Attorneys must determine how much money their client deserves. Your lawyer will develop a settlement target after considering existing and possible future damages.
    • Documenting the client’s damages: Your attorney will substantiate your accident-related damages with available medical records, mental health treatment records, income statements (showing lost income), and other documentation.

    Following these steps, the legal team will engage in settlement negotiations. After exhausting negotiations, your lawyer may advise you to accept a settlement or proceed to court.

    How Should I Choose a Truck Accident Lawyer?

    You should choose your ruck accident lawyer wisely, considering which firm in your area is most qualified to lead your case. You may make a list of potential firms to hire, possibly through online research and recommendations from those you trust.

    As you review law firms in your area, consider:

    • The law firm’s reputation: You may consider public forums (such as Google) and any testimonials the law firm publishes on its website. This will show former clients' feelings about a law firm.
    • The law firm’s practice areas: If a law firm advertises truck accident cases prominently, you may conclude that the law firm takes your case type seriously. If truck accident cases are one of many practice areas, you may also consider that. 
    • The law firm’s size: If a law firm has many attorneys, you may assume that the law firm also has significant financial resources. Smaller firms may also be capable of succeeding with your case and may offer vital customer service. The size of a law firm is one of many factors to consider during your search for a lawyer.
    • The law firm’s case results: Case results are very telling. If a firm has many substantial case results in truck accident cases, you may weigh that information heavily as you choose your attorneys.
    • Your experience during the free consultation: If you experience positive service and honesty during your free consultation, this may be an indication of the law firm’s culture.

    Also, when selecting a law firm to lead your rear-end truck accident case, rely on your instincts.

    Locate a Truck Accident Lawyer to Fight for Your Financial Recovery Today

    Take advantage of free consultations, which allow you cost-free meetings with personal injury firms serving your area. Narrow down your list and hire a law firm as soon as possible, as your attorney may have limited time to file your rear-end truck accident case.