I Was Rear-Ended by an 18-Wheeler. What Are My Options?
Any rear-end accident can inflict costly damage on your vehicle and endanger the safety of car occupants. However, when the rear-ending vehicle is a massive semi-truck weighing several tons, the injuries and damages caused are likely to be far more severe. For the victims of rear-end trucking accidents, the expenses that result can be overwhelming, often including:
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repairs
- Time off work
- Much more
Main Cause of Rear-Endings: Inability to Stop
The inability of 18-wheelers to stop quickly is the leading cause of rear-end accidents. About 400,000 truck accidents occur annually, with 18 percent of such accidents comprising rear-end accidents. This equates to an average of 42,000 rear-end truck accidents each year. Rear-end truck accidents are especially dangerous because:
- Commercial trucks are often more than 40 times heavier than other vehicles. The pure weight of the truck when striking a car can cause serious and long term injuries or death.
- Trucks have a much longer stopping distance, frequently leading to rear-end crashes.
- In about 20 percent of all rear-end accidents, three or more vehicles were involved.
Determining Fault in a Rear-End 18-Wheeler Accident
In most rear-end accidents, the vehicle striking from the rear is liable for the accident. However, this is not always the case, as many exceptions apply, and in 18-wheeler accident cases, proving liability can be especially difficult.
When a big rig or tractor trailer is involved in an accident, the driver may have caused the accident, but it is the trucking company they work for that will likely be financially responsible. Most of these large trucking companies are massive corporations with strong insurance carriers and attorneys who will challenge liability and seek to pay as little as possible.
After a rear-end truck accident, your attorney must prove that the truck driver acted negligently. This will require a thorough review of the evidence, including police reports, photographs of the scene and vehicles involved, witness statements, and much more. Black box data must be subpoenaed along with cell phone records, lading statements, and the like. Your semi-truck accident attorney will need to turn over every stone in the search for evidence of negligent behavior.
The trucking company will attempt to point the finger at anyone other than the driver. This may include deflecting blame on you, such as trying to make you appear irresponsible or negligent. In the case of a rear-end accident, this may include allegations that you stopped short without reason.
The trucking company may also attempt to implicate a third party, such as another driver on the road or the manufacturer of a potentially liable part. Your attorney will prove vital in defending against such claims and focusing the issue on the driver’s negligence.
Zinda Law Group: Experienced Representation for Rear-End Trucking Accidents
Like any type of commercial vehicle accident, semi-truck accident and rear-end accidents are complex and will require experienced representation because the trucker and trucking insurance company will fight your claim each step of the way. If you have been injured in a rear-end 18-wheeler accident, the truck accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group can help.
We have an outstanding track record of success and will seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. We offer a free consultation to new clients and have office locations across the country. Call Zinda Law Group toll free at 800-863-5312 to see how we can help you!