Whether a truck rear-ends you or you rear-end a truck, the results can be absolutely devastating. Commercial trucks tend to be more challenging to maneuver and also heavier and longer than cars. About 400,000 trucks are involved in crashes each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A significant percentage of these crashes are rear-end collisions. If you are injured in a rear-end collision involving a truck in Alabama, you should consult Decatur truck accident lawyer Greg Reeves at the Reeves Law Firm.Rear-End Collisions Cause Serious Injuries
It is probably more common for a commercial truck to rear-end a passenger vehicle than for the opposite to happen. There are many possible causes of a rear-end collision, and sometimes it is necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to determine what occurred. Sometimes the truck driver is not adequately trained to leave a safe distance. In some cases, the truck driver is being compensated to drive faster. Sometimes there is an unrealistic schedule that results in fatigued driving. These factors can result in a rear-end collision caused by the truck driver.
When a commercial truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle, up to 80,000 pounds of weight hit that vehicle. There is a huge disparity in size, and the result can be catastrophic injuries or even death. Sometimes the bumper and frame of the commercial truck, which are higher than the inner compartments of a passenger vehicle, actually enter the compartment. This increases the chances of catastrophic injuries, particularly to the passengers in the rear.
Meanwhile, a rear-end collision in which a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of a commercial truck can also be devastating for the person or people inside the passenger vehicle. This can result in an underride accident, in which the passenger car slides under the commercial truck, and possibly the death of the people inside the passenger vehicle.
Often, the vehicle to the rear is at fault because all drivers are supposed to follow only at a safe distance and are supposed to leave room to brake even if there is a sudden stop. In order to establish the liability of the truck driver, your attorney will need to show that the truck driver failed to use the appropriate care and that this caused your injuries. When a truck driver fails to leave enough space to stop and then rear-ends you, this may suffice to show liability. The employer of the truck driver also may be vicariously (indirectly) liable for the rear-end collision if it is caused by the negligence of the driver during the course and scope of his employment.
Sometimes the trucking company bears direct responsibility for the accident. For example, if the trucking company failed to properly maintain the vehicle, and the brake lights were not working, the car might strike the truck from the rear because there was no warning of a sudden stop. Similarly, if a trucking company does not conduct the background checks and drug and alcohol tests that it is required to conduct under trucking regulations, and a drunk driver rear-ends you as a result, it may be possible to hold the trucking company directly liable for negligent hiring. A trucking company can also be directly liable for negligent supervision or negligent training if it results in a rear-end collision.
In some cases, defective brakes or defective lights may be to blame for a commercial truck rear-ending a passenger vehicle in Decatur or elsewhere in Alabama. Truck brake conditions often cause crashes, and if a truck's brakes fail to work, a rear-end collision is likely at some point. Similarly, if the driver of a passenger car cannot see the rear of the commercial truck at nighttime due to a failure of the truck's lighting, the driver of the passenger car may rear-end the truck. In these cases, it may be possible to hold the trucking company liable for failing to have proper lighting.Retain an Experienced Alabama Attorney for Your Truck Crash Case
Rear-end collisions can turn into chain reaction accidents, in which multiple people in a line of cars are injured by a commercial truck. This can result in multiple claims against the truck driver's insurance. The coverage may not be sufficient for multiple claims, and it is important to hire an attorney who can look at all of the possible causes of the rear-end collision. If you are facing this challenging situation, you should contact the Reeves Law Firm. Attorney Greg Reeves has 25 years of legal experience and provides representation to victims in Decatur, Athens, Huntsville, Madison, Hartselle, and Birmingham, as well as other areas of Cullman, Lauderdale, Madison, Morgan, Lawrence, Limestone, and Jackson Counties. Call us at 256.355.3311 or complete our online form for a free consultation.