Can You Sue for a Rear-End Truck Collision?

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Insurance companies and law enforcement officers often treat rear-end collisions as cut-and-dry cases. Regardless of whether they involve trucks, whoever rear-ended the other vehicle gets slapped with the at-fault driver title. More often than not, this is accurate. At-fault rear-enders usually speed or follow too closely. Even so, there are instances when the rear-ended driver caused the accident. Can you sue to prove this in court? That boils down to the details.

What Is a Rear-End Truck Collision?

A rear-end truck collision can play out in two main ways. Whichever one applies to your case, the injuries are usually catastrophic.

1. Rear-Ended by the Truck

If a truck rear-ends your vehicle, you have a high likelihood of winning large sums in compensation. Trucks weigh several tons, so surviving an accident of that kind is often nothing short of a miracle. If your loved one did not survive the accident, then the court might feel even more sympathetic to your case.

The case involving Walmart and two famous comedians presents an excellent example. One comedian survived the accident but suffered serious injuries. The other comedian passed away. Walmart settled with the comedian who lived for an undisclosed amount rumored to reach $90 million. The retail giant then paid $10 million to the survivors of the comedian who died.

2. Rear-Ending the Truck

When drivers rear-end a truck, the result is often no less deadly. In fact, a large number of these cases result in decapitation. When this happens, the front of the vehicle slides underneath the truck, leaving only the glass windshield to protect the occupants. The airbags and other systems generally fail to work because the vehicle sensors do not detect a collision. Consequently, the back end of the truck removes the top of the vehicle.

Over the years, several organizations have lobbied for trucks to include stronger and lower bars to block the undercarriage. No DOT standards currently exist to enforce this, but some trucking companies complied. Drivers who collide with trucks that have stronger barriers or that might have lower clearance have a stronger likelihood of surviving. In either case, an experienced attorney might reconstruct the case and discover that the truck driver caused the accident.

What Are Some Details That Suit the Driver Who Rear-Ended the Truck?

Few people question whether they can sue if a truck slams into the back of their vehicles. So, the rest of this article tackles the specific case of rear-ending a truck. How the case plays out in court might come down to some key details.

Truck Backing Out

In the course of carrying out their duties, truckers sometimes need to back into oncoming traffic. When they do so, the truck usually emits a beeping sound to warn people in the nearby vicinity. However, someone traveling down the road half a mile away will not hear it. This person might not have enough time to stop after realizing the truck has backed into the street.

Truck Stopping

Truck drivers often drive cautiously. They know that if an accident occurs, they stand a high likelihood of receiving the blame whether they caused the accident or not. Unfortunately, over-cautious driving can cause accidents. Trucks might swing into your lane at lower speeds as you mean to pass or they might stop suddenly. Both of these instances can cause rear-end crashes.

Truck Parking

In most cases, if you drive into a parked vehicle, you receive the at-fault designation. However, some details could challenge this. For example, what if there was limited visibility and the truck driver failed to pull completely off the highway or street. You could clip the back end of that truck at high speeds. Most highways post signs to slow speeds in low visibility. However, catastrophic injury can happen even at low-speed collisions with trucks.

Trucker Road Rage

Most truck drivers are honest, hardworking men and women earning a living to provide for their families. Even so, some bad apples with a history of road rage do exist. These drivers often seem to take personal offense to passenger vehicles or even other trucks trying to pass. Dangerous maneuvers include moving into your lane as you try to pass, slowing unreasonably or even driving in the middle of both lanes.

What Pieces of Evidence Could Prove the Trucker Is at Fault?

In cases like these, the more solid the evidence, the better the chances of proving innocence. These are some of the many avenues your Michigan personal injury attorney might pursue.

Dashcam Footage

Whether you or the truck driver has dashcam footage, it could work to your benefit. It might show the moments leading up to the moment of the collision. In some cases, it might appear that the truck driver acted to avoid an accident with a vehicle in front. This could complicate the case, but will nevertheless prove an emergency maneuver took place that endangered you.

Surveillance Footage

More often than not, dashcams only point forward. Few drivers also add cameras pointing into the vehicle or to the back of it. Consequently, you might need footage from nearby cameras to paint a full picture. This could include traffic cameras or surveillance cameras from nearby businesses, such as gas stations or banks.

Black Box

If your vehicle model is 2014 or newer, it might include a black box. Recovering this after an accident can provide crucial evidence about what happened in the moments leading up to the accident. Black boxes provide details that your attorney can use to reconstruct the scene. This includes the following data:

  • Whether you applied the brakes and at what force
  • The exact speed the vehicle traveled at, at the moment of impact
  • The angle of the steering at the time of impact
  • When airbags deployed
  • Whether all occupants wore seatbelts

Insurance Trackers

Did you sign up to get an insurance discount by allowing your insurer to track your driving? Insurance companies often accomplish this via app or via a device you can attach to your vehicle. Whatever the method, the tracker likely has information regarding what happened at the time of the accident. This could include the following:

  • Speed and driving habits throughout the trip
  • Speed at the time of impact
  • When you hit the brakes

Witnesses

What people remember about an accident rarely carries as much weight as other types of evidence. Even so, when witness accounts corroborate the other types of evidence presented, it can provide the final glue that binds the case together. It also humanizes the experience in ways that footage and tracker data rarely do.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help With a Truck Rear-End Collision Case?

If you rear-end a truck and believe the truck caused the accident, it will take strong arguments and an experienced attorney to prove this. You need a team of attorneys with a solid reputation for winning and winning big. This team also needs the resources to reconstruct accidents and to track down witnesses who could provide key testimony evidence in court.

At the Mike Morse Law Firm, we have won more than $1 billion for our clients in a wide range of Michigan personal injury cases. No matter how complex or challenging your case might seem, let us review it and help you determine how to proceed. Contact us to get started.

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