While rear-end car accidents are some of the most common types of crashes, they are typically the least fatal type of accident. However, the risk of a rear-end collisions resulting in serious or fatal injuries skyrockets when a large truck is involved.
If you have been hurt in a rear-end accident involving an 18-wheeler or other large truck, our personal injury truck accident attorneys at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund are here to fight for you in your claim for damages. Semi-truck accident claims can be complex. Let our powerful team of attorneys advocate for your right to recover the full compensation award that you deserve.
What to Do After a Rear-End Truck Accident
We know that being involved in a rear-end accident, especially one that involves a large truck, can be a shocking and traumatizing experience. Indeed, you may be dealing with significant injuries, both physical and psychological, in the immediate and long-term aftermath of your crash.
Although you have a lot on your mind right after a rear-end crash, by taking the following steps, you can help to preserve your right to damages and initiate the personal injury claims process.
- Report the rear-end truck accident to the authorities. You need to call the police and report the accident immediately. This should be done while you are still at the accident scene. Police arriving on scene and documenting the accident can serve as an important source of evidence during the claims process. Be sure to request a copy of the police report.
- Seek medical attention immediately. One of the most important things that you need to do following a crash is to seek medical care immediately. In some cases, you may not have a choice ─ you may be transported from the accident scene to the hospital via ambulance. Even if you do have some autonomy, though, your first stop after the crash should be to the doctor’s office for a check-up.
- Collect evidence. If you are physically able to, you should take pictures of the accident scene while you wait for the police to arrive, including pictures of your vehicle, the truck, and damages; photos of skid marks and any damaged objects; photos of traffic signs and weather conditions; and pictures of any visible injuries you’ve suffered.
- Notify your insurance company. Even though Texas is an at-fault state, which means that drivers who cause accidents are responsible for paying for them, you still need to provide your insurance company with notice of the accident, even if you don’t think that you were to blame. Your insurance company has the right to investigate the claim and to receive notice of a crash in a timely manner. However, you do not have to share details of your injuries or give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Instead, report the basic facts of the crash such as the date, time, location, and parties involved.
- Keep your paperwork together. After your accident, you will likely have a lot of paperwork, receipts, and bills to deal with. Keep everything related to your accident together so you can share it and discuss it with your attorney.
- Talk to a rear-end truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. We highly encourage you to call us as soon after your accident as possible. It is important to have skilled representation when dealing with trucking companies and insurance companies. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate for a maximum settlement or take your claim to trial if necessary.
Causes of Rear-End Truck Crashes
When a rear-end truck accident occurs it’s important that the cause of the crash is determined and the at-fault party is identified. An injured person cannot recover compensation from another party unless he or she can prove that negligence was the cause of harm. Some of the top causes of rear-end truck crashes include:
- Tailgating or following too closely. Maintaining a safe distance between a large truck and a passenger crash is critical for accident prevention. When a large truck tailgates a smaller vehicle, the risk of a rear-end crash, or an override collision (where a large truck literally rides over the backend of a smaller car), is possible.
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions. Large trucks take more time and room to stop than do smaller cars, and the faster that a large truck is traveling, the more time that’s required from the moment the brakes are applied until the truck comes to a complete stop. What’s more, speeding also makes a vehicle harder to control and increases the risk of severe injuries should an accident occur.
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Large truck drivers may use a variety of drugs to help them fight fatigue, and some may give in to the temptation of alcohol or other impairing substances when behind the wheel.
- Distracted drivers. Driving while distracted is a top cause of accidents, especially now that cellphones are so ubiquitous. In addition to the use of a handheld device, other behaviors that may be distracting and dangerous include eating while driving, talking to a passenger, operating a GPS, adjusting vehicle controls/radio, etc.
- Malfunctioning brakes on trucks. Not all truck accidents are the fault of one of the drivers involved. Sometimes, defective vehicles parts, such as malfunctioning brakes, are the cause of a rear-end or other collision type. If malfunctioning brakes are to blame, a claim against the manufacturer of the brakes or/and the trucking company for failure to perform proper maintenance may be pursued.
- Improper function of headlamps or turn indicators. Other parts of a truck or a passenger car that may malfunction, contributing to the risk of a truck accident rear-end collision, including headlamps and turn signals. Again, an investigation must be opened to determine who should be liable for these defects, such as the owner of the vehicle or the manufacturer of defective parts.
Liability for a Rear-End Truck Crash
Our lawyers work hard to investigate your truck crash and determine who is liable for the damages that you have suffered. Potentially liable parties when a semi-truck rear ends a car include:
- The truck driver or drivers of other motor vehicles
- The trucking company
- The manufacturer/distributor of a defective vehicle part
- The party responsible for vehicle maintenance
- The party responsible for road and road signage maintenance
Our legal team will work with experts, including accident reconstruction and forensic experts, to get to the bottom of how your crash happened and who is to blame. Then, we will bring a claim against the at-fault party and negotiate aggressively in pursuit of the maximum compensation you deserve.
Compensation for Rear-End Accident Claims
When you are rear-ended by a truck and suffer harm, recovering a fair truck accident settlement is likely a top priority. Our lawyers will work hard to calculate the value of your claim and negotiate for your right to recover compensation for the full value of your economic and noneconomic losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional anguish
- Any other losses you’ve incurred
Common Rear-End Collision Injuries
Rear-end collisions that involve large trucks can be extremely serious, especially if the large truck rides over the end of a vehicle, or if a smaller vehicle rides under the trailer of a truck, resulting in extreme vehicle damages, crush injuries, decapitation injuries, and other tragic harm to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Some of the most common rear-end collision injuries that result from large truck accidents include:
- Whiplash injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Facial injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Back injuries
- Bone fracture injuries
- Internal injuries
However, this list is by no means exhaustive. No matter what type of injuries you have suffered in a truck crash, you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your right to compensation.
How a Rear-End Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
When you call our accident lawyers, we will work diligently to build your claim and demand the maximum compensation that you deserve. We help you by:
- Investigating your case and hiring experts to determine fault and prove liability
- Ensuring that you find appropriate medical care
- Calculating the extent of your damages
- Reviewing all insurance coverage policies available
- Issuing spoliation letters, preserving evidence, and organizing your claim
- Issuing a demand letter to the appropriate insurance company(s)
- Reviewing and negotiating your settlement
Our lawyers also have extensive litigation experience, and we can represent you in a courtroom should out-of-court negotiations fail.
Contact One of Our Truck Accident Lawyers
Being involved in a truck accident can change your life, leaving you with serious injuries and financial losses that make your future uncertain. When you call us we will advocate for your right to a full recovery amount and take a personalized approach to developing your claim strategy and maximizing your settlement.
To schedule a free consultation with our law firm, please call us today or send us a message telling us more about your truck accident. We are ready to start working on your case immediately.
Douglas D. Ketterman is the originator and founder of Ketterman, Rowland & Westlund where he currently serves as President and Managing Shareholder. Douglas has extensive experience in handling all types of civil litigation. He graduated with honors from St. Mary’s School of Law in 1989 and has been Board Certified as a Specialist in Personal Injury Trial Law since 1998 by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.