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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2020. Besides, the number of medium or heavy pickup trucks in fatal crashes increased by 19 percent from 2018 to 2020.
Rear-end truck accidents are significantly more severe than motorcycle accidents. That’s because a truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds—massive compared to lighter, smaller vehicles.
A rear-end truck collision can be devastating for anyone involved. It’s true whether the truck rear-ended you or you rear-ended it. Knowing your rights and what to do after rear-end truck accidents is essential.
This guide will show you everything there is to know about rear-end truck collisions. Read on to find out more!
What Is a Rear-End Collision?
A rear-end collision is what it sounds like—an accident type that happens when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. This accident type occurs mainly because one vehicle suddenly stops. Even during a routine stop, the second driver might collide with the vehicle in front of them if they’re not paying attention.
Distractions, such as drinking, eating, talking on the phone, and texting, may cause a driver to become involved in a rear-end accident. This accident type is common and contributes to millions of car crashes annually across the United States.
Why Are Rear-End Truck Collisions so Dangerous?
Rear-end accidents can be dangerous even at low speeds, leading to various injuries. When involving trucks, these collisions can cause catastrophic injuries, mainly because of particular truck features.
Here are some features that make rear-end truck collisions so dangerous:
- Significant weight. As mentioned above, large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, so they easily crush smaller vehicles in accidents.
- Brake time. Due to enormous sizes and weights, it takes truck drivers more time to stop their vehicles. So, rear-end collisions happen when truckers speed. The faster large trucks move, the more devastating the impact.
- Car pile-ups. When a big truck collides with the back of another vehicle, it can force the vehicle into another one in front of it. The crash causes a chain reaction, leading to substantial property damage and countless injuries.
What Causes a Rear-End Truck Collision?
While distracted driving is the most common cause of rear-end truck collisions, other scenarios include:
- Fatigue. When truckers drive for long hours without a break, they can become fatigued or fall asleep while driving. As a result, it’s difficult for them to notice the vehicle in front of them stopping or slowing down.
- Impaired driving. According to American Addiction Centers, 27.6 percent of truck-driving respondents admitted to using drugs. Drug and alcohol consumption before driving can impair a driver’s reaction time and driving skills. Even some prescription or over-the-counter medications can reduce their ability to drive safely.
- Other factors. Other factors causing rear-end truck collisions include poor road/weather conditions, congested traffic, malfunctioning truck parts, or inadequate lighting.
What Are Common Injuries in a Rear-End Truck Collision?
How badly victims get hurt depends on the accident’s circumstances. Common injuries in rear-end truck collisions include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Facial trauma
- Emotional trauma
- Significant lacerations and bruising
- Crushed limbs
- Wrongful deaths
What Should You Do After a Rear-End Truck Collision?
Trucking accidents are chaotic, overwhelming, and stressful. Victims often don’t want to worry about which steps to take after an accident. However, taking action after a rear-end truck collision can protect your legal and safety rights.
1. Call 911
First and foremost, immediately call 911 to alert the police of your accident and ask for medical help.
Once the police arrive at the scene, they’ll perform a preliminary investigation and record their findings. If you file a lawsuit after the collision, the police report can provide valuable proof of who caused the crash.
2. Take pictures of the scene and damage
Most rear-end truck collisions cause extensive injuries and damage. So, accident victims may not be able to gather evidence from the scene. However, unless you require emergency medical treatment and the area is safe, use your cell phone camera to collect evidence.
Take videos and photos of the scene, your visible injuries, vehicle damages, skid marks on the road, traffic signs, weather conditions, and other evidence that can help show what happened.
3. Exchange information with witnesses and drivers
After the collision, try to exchange information with anyone involved, including the truck driver. Ask for their names, contact details, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.
If other people witness the crash, try to ask for their names and phone numbers. They can provide helpful information regarding what happened, along with testimony validating your claim.
4. Don’t admit fault immediately
Watch what you say to others after the accident. An insurance company can use statements you make against you. Don’t admit fault, apologize for the accident, or give any comments about what happened until you speak to a truck accident attorney.
Besides, avoid posting about the collision on social media or community groups. Even though doing so may help vent your frustrations, it can leave a trail of evidence that the other side uses against you.
5. Visit a medical professional
Visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible after a rear-end truck collision. Even if you don’t go to the hospital after the accident, you should still see a doctor soon. Symptoms of severe injuries, like spinal cord or brain injuries, can take time to develop. The longer, the more dangerous.
In addition, receiving prompt medical treatment can help your legal case. A medical report comes in handy if the insurance company insists that your injuries are minor or a result of separate events.
Involving in a rear-end truck accident can forever change a person’s life. You and your loved ones need to focus on physical and emotional recovery, not complicated legal paperwork. If you work with an experienced attorney, you don’t have to handle your case alone.
A trustworthy attorney can evaluate your legal claim, thoroughly investigate your rear-end collision, negotiate with the insurance company, and provide you with legal support. Let a legal team help you vie for the justice you deserve today!