When another vehicle smashes into your car from behind, it can result in physical injuries and automobile damage. These damages are often minor, but this is likely not the case if a commercial truck rear-ends you. Whether minor or severe, you have a right to seek compensation for your damages if the accident was not your fault.
Crash statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that rear-end collisions occur more often than other types of car crashes. Usually, negligent or reckless driving of the car behind you causes this kind of accident. However, this is not always the case, especially in a comparative fault state.
This crash type occurs when the front bumper of one vehicle hits the rear end of another vehicle. Even if a car has only minor damage, people often suffer neck and back injuries following an accident of this nature.
When a commercial truck hits your car from behind, it can cause immediate and potentially severe injuries. Semi trucks with fully loaded trailers can weigh 80,000 pounds. This weight also carries significant force if the trucker is driving fast. The size difference between a truck and a car can result in extensive damage to vehicles and their occupants when a collision occurs.
If a truck hits your vehicle, you can sustain bodily harm that leads to chronic pain or permanent injury. Rear-end truck accidents that happen at a slow speed can still cause critical injuries. High-speed rear-end crashes can result in death, especially if passengers are in the car’s back seat.
Injuries that are common following a rear-end accident include:
- Concussions or other head trauma
- Facial injuries, cuts and bruises
- Broken bones or sprains
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue damage
Injuries like whiplash can have long-term complications that require ongoing treatment. You may need regular medical care, physical therapy or pain management services after this type of wreck. Serious damages and chronic neck pain can also lead to missed work and lost wages
In truck accidents, the losses can exceed the amount insurance covers. If you can prove the commercial truck driver is at fault, you have a right to compensation for the costs associated with your damages. You must be able to show that your expenses are a direct result of your accident.
You can file a lawsuit to recoup expenses related to:
- Vehicle repairs
- Medical bills
- Reduced earning ability
- Loss of income
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Commercial Vehicle Liability
Truckers and trucking companies must follow a unique set of rules and regulations. If a commercial vehicle crashes into you, you may be able to sue the driver, the trucker’s employer, or the truck’s manufacturer. Your legal options depend on the details of your case.
If negligent driving leads to an accident, you can hold the truck driver liable for your damages. Most truckers work for an employer, and often the trucking company also has legal responsibility for the driver’s actions. The company is also accountable for issues related to improper truck maintenance. Additionally, if a parts malfunction causes your wreck, you may be able to sue the vehicle’s manufacturer or the mechanic who services the truck.
An accident involving a large truck can leave you with extensive injuries and property damage, resulting in expensive medical treatment and repair costs. You have a right to recover these expenses if the other driver was at fault. You may even be able to seek compensation if you are partially at fault. If a court finds you have some liability in your accident, the truck driver may have to pay a percentage of your costs.
If a semi trailer truck hits your car from the back, you should call 911 and take photos of the accident scene if possible. Seek medical treatment right away. Have the emergency services team evaluate your injuries, then go to the emergency room for further assessment. When you file a lawsuit, your photos and medical records help you prove your case.
File a personal injury claim with your insurance provider, then seek advice from an attorney with experience handling truck accidents. Someone who knows the process can help you avoid mistakes along the way. Do not speak with the trucker’s insurance company until you understand your rights.
The other insurance company may not offer a fair settlement. The coverage may not pay for all your associated expenses. When negligence causes a collision, you have the right to sue for the compensation you deserve with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Collect the evidence supporting your legal claim. Examples of proof may include:
- A police report from the scene of your accident
- Witness statements
- Pictures of the crash
- Medical records of your treatment and diagnosis
- Medical bills
- Street camera video footage
After gathering the evidence relevant to your case, you can file a formal complaint with the civil courts. Your grievance should explain:
- The details of the accident
- The way you got hurt
- The amount of money you are asking for as compensation
Once you file, you start the legal process of suing for payment related to your accident damages. Your case may require holding court proceedings, depending on the circumstances surrounding your crash. However, a trucking accident lawyer can often help you negotiate a settlement offer without having to go to court.
Statute of Limitations
Each state has specific statutes of limitations for filing accident claims. For example, in Indiana, you have two years from the date of your collision to file a civil lawsuit. However, if the truck driver was employed by a government entity, you have 270 days to send a Tort Claim Notice to the correct governmental entity that employs the driver. The time limit shortens to 180 days if the truck driver is employed by a political subdivision in Indiana. If the driver is employed by the federal government, notice must be sent to the correct federal entity within 2 years. Following a crash, taking action as soon as possible helps you avoid missing your opportunity to receive financial compensation.
All drivers on the road must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. This rule is especially critical for truck drivers, as it takes them longer to come to a complete stop. However, there are many potential causes of rear-end collisions, such as:
- Distracted driving: A truck driver eating, talking on the phone or looking at a GPS device while driving may not notice the car ahead slowing down.
- Intoxicated driving: If truckers drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they have reduced reaction times and impaired decision-making abilities.
- Poor visibility: When truckers violate lighting regulations, they may fail to see cars in front of them in time to stop. Federal regulations require trucks to have correctly installed and fully functional headlights at all times.
- Drowsy driving: People who drive commercial vehicles spend long hours behind the wheel, making them more likely to drive fatigued or fall asleep while operating the truck.
- Faulty brakes: If a trucking company does not properly maintain a vehicle’s brakes, it can create dangerous situations that lead to rear-end accidents.
- Speeding: If truckers drive too fast for conditions or run red lights, they may crash into cars before them on the road.
At Hensley Legal Group, we strive to minimize the stress of filing a lawsuit. We dedicate our time to finding solutions to your legal problems. Our knowledge and experience help you get the compensation you deserve following a rear-end crash.
We understand the difficulties following an accident and are ready to assist you with your legal case. Reach out today online or at(317) 563-7971 for a free conversation about your legal options.