Why Are Rear-End Truck Accidents so Dangerous?
January 31, 2022
Truck accidents with large commercial vehicles are often severe, and rear-end accidents are common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are more than 2 million rear-end accidents throughout the United States each year. Rear-end collisions account for approximately 30 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. Catastrophic injuries can result from any type of truck accident, even a rear-end collision. Some catastrophic injuries can even lead to a permanent disability, making truck accidents especially dangerous.
When a large truck rear ends a car, then the potential for a catastrophic injury increases. When fully loaded, commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making them massive vehicles on the road that can inflict a considerable amount of damage upon impact. Commercial trucks that rear end cars can lead to serious property damage, injuries, and fatalities, especially when an impact occurs at a high speed.
What Causes Rear-End Truck Accidents?
One main reason why rear-end truck accidents happen is because a large truck needs more time to brake or come to a complete stop. It takes much longer for a tractor-trailer to stop in comparison to your car. Cars can come to a total stop in under 70 feet after traveling at 60 miles per hour. However, semi-trucks carry a lot of weight. When reaching a speed of 65 miles per hour, it takes semi-trucks over 500 feet for them to come to a complete stop. That is why it is critical to give truck drivers extra room on the road. If a truck driver sees an emergency ahead, it will take them much longer to stop.
When truck drivers do not have enough distance to safely stop, they can hit or rear end a passenger vehicle on the road. A rear-end truck accident can leave the driver of the passenger car with severe neck injuries. A rear-end truck accident can also be fatal.
There are other reasons why rear-end truck accidents happen as well. Some truckers drive while impaired. Truck drivers are also prone to distracted driving because they often travel large distances and on long stretches of highway. Common causes of distracted driving accidents include eating and drinking, daydreaming, and cellphone use.
Fortunately, there are laws that prohibit cellphone use while driving. However, some drivers choose to ignore the law and compromise their own safety and the safety of other motorists.
New and inexperienced truck drivers are more likely to cause an accident compared to those who have experience. According to the NHTSA, as the driver’s age rises, the probability of a driver causing a rear-end collision declines. Age and driving experience are seemingly linked when it comes to truck accidents. Older truckers have more experience and know how to handle their vehicles. They have a good feel for how their truck will react in emergency situations, such as when a motorist slams on the brakes in front of them on the highway.
Speeding is also a factor in many rear-end truck accidents. Truck drivers that surpass the speed limit often cannot stop in time to avoid a crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that a loaded semi-truck traveling at 65 miles per hour needs two football fields of room to come to a complete stop.
Sometimes, truck drivers are too fatigued to drive, which can lead to a drowsy driving accident. If a truck driver is fatigued, they do not have the full ability to make wise decisions, which can lead to a rear-end collision.
Other common causes of rear-end truck accidents include:
- Unmaintained brakes.
- Transporting a load that exceeds the maximum weight limit.
- Poor visibility.
- Poor weather conditions.
What Injuries Occur in Rear-End Truck Accidents?
A rear-end truck accident can cause many different types of catastrophic injuries. A catastrophic injury can lead to high medical bills and can change a person’s life dramatically.
Neck and back injuries usually happen in rear-end accidents due to the intensity of the impact from behind. When a truck hits a passenger vehicle from behind, the occupants in the passenger car can twist into unnatural positions from the intense force of impact. Those injured in truck accidents often suffer herniated discs and fractured vertebrae. Broken fragments of bone can also penetrate a person’s spinal cord and cause debilitating damage or even paralysis.
The force of a crash involving a tractor-trailer can also cause immense damage to a person’s soft tissues. Severe tears to muscles, ligaments, and tendons might require surgical repair and can lead to long-term decreased range of motion, along with chronic pain.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are common in all types of truck accidents. A TBI happens when the force of an impact causes the brain to shift inside the skull, damaging brain tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
People who have TBIs often have to deal with long-term or even lifelong impairments, which can include:
- Problems with cognitive functions, such as reasoning and memory.
- Issues with senses and sensations.
- Problems with speaking.
- Mood and personality changes.
Who Is Liable for Rear-End Truck Accidents?
As with any accident, you must prove that the collision happened because of negligence. Your lawyer must prove that the accident happened because the other driver was negligent. However, truck accident cases are complicated because there could be multiple parties at fault for the collision.
Some possible liable parties include:
- Manufacturer of the truck and its parts.
- Owner of the cargo.
- Truck driver.
- Trucking company.
- Owner of the truck.
A lawyer can help you determine the at-fault party.
What Evidence Do I Need?
In order to have a successful claim, you must prove that the other party caused the accident, not you. This will require legal assistance, which is why it is critical to speak with a lawyer after a truck accident. They can help you gather the evidence you need to support your case. While your lawyer can help you collect some forms of evidence, there are some steps you can take to help your case.
At the accident scene, if possible, you should take pictures and videos of the damage to both of the vehicles. You should also photograph the scene of the accident. You should note skid marks, debris, road conditions, weather conditions, and anything else that seems relevant. It is also possible that a witness saw the accident. If there are any witnesses, you should document what they saw, and you should get their name, address, and phone number. All of this will help you with your claim.
It is important to go to the doctor after any type of accident, even if you believe you are okay. Some injuries can show up later. Getting medical attention is not only important for your well-being, it can also help your case. You should gather all information related to your injury, such as your doctor’s notes and evidence that shows you went to the emergency room for your injuries. Getting medical care immediately after an accident will strengthen your claim because it will show that the collision caused your injuries. If you wait to get care, you may jeopardize your claim.
Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate on Behalf of Drivers Injured in Rear-End Truck Accidents
Being injured in a rear-end truck accident is a serious matter. While you concentrate on your recovery, we can help you explore your legal options and protect your rights. Our Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help you after a serious rear-end truck accident. Call us today at 856-414-0010 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.
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