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Understanding Commercial Truck Rear-Ended Settlements

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Whether rear-ended by a pickup, commercial box truck, 18-wheeler, or delivery truck, we can help you through the legal process.

Rear-end accidents involving tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, and other commercial vehicles often result in very serious injuries. This is because large commercial trucks are so much bigger than other vehicles on the road. On average, there are approximately 500,000 truck accidents per year resulting in over 4,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries. 

While the vast majority of truck drivers operate their vehicles safely and responsibly, often, truck drivers may be at fault in rear-end collisions if they are not paying attention to the road, are distracted, or are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Fatigue can also be a factor, as truck drivers may be under pressure to meet tight deadlines and may not take adequate breaks to rest.

If you or a loved one was hit from behind by a semi-truck or bus, your vehicle might be totaled. You might have serious injuries that require extensive medical care. You might also be in pain and unable to work for weeks or perhaps even months. 

Put all these factors together and you often have a recipe for disaster. Suddenly, you might not be able to pay your bills. And instead of focusing on recovering from your injuries, you might be dealing with creditors and insurance companies pressuring you to pay your bills and accept a lowball settlement offer. 

This is why it’s critical that you fully understand how the compensation process works for rear-end collisions involving commercial trucks. Otherwise, you could end up having to pay for injury-related expenses for a rear-end collision caused by a truck driver. Contacting a rear-end truck accident lawyer for a free consultation is a good way to understand your legal rights and options. A lawyer can help you prove your case and fight the insurance companies for a fair settlement.

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You may have different rights and options based off of what type of truck hit you and what company they are conntected to. Here are some common truck accident types.

Rear-ended by a commercial truck

Commercial trucks are different than pick-up trucks many of us see every day on the road. Commercial trucks are not just larger. Different state and federal laws apply to commercial vehicles and commercial truck drivers. These laws are much tougher than the rules of the road governing other drivers. Many of the federal laws that apply to truck drivers can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

This is why rear-end commercial truck accidents can be so complicated. For one thing, you’re not just dealing with the commercial truck driver who caused your collision. In order to be financially compensated for your rear-end commercial truck accident, you may need to deal with the trucking company the truck driver works for, as well as many other businesses as well.

This is why it’s important that you have a rear-end commercial truck accident lawyer handling your injury claim or lawsuit. Attorneys with experience handling such complex legal cases know the unique state and federal laws that often apply to such injury claims. They also know how to deal with trucking companies, insurance companies and anyone else that stands in your way for justice.

Rear-ended by a semi-truck, 18-wheeler

Some of the most serious rear-end accidents involve 18-wheelers and other large semi-trucks. When fully loaded, a tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. As a result, the damage caused by rear-end collisions involving 18-wheelers can often be significant.

And to make matters even more complicated, you’re rarely just dealing with the tractor-trailer driver. Often, in order to be financially compensated for your rear-end 18-wheeler accident, you may need to deal with:

  • The tractor-trailer driver
  • The trucking company the truck driver works for
  • The company that loaded the truck
  • All of their insurance companies

In addition, such companies might be located in a different state than the one where you live or your rear-end semi-truck accident took place. In such complicated cases, it’s critical that you have an experienced rear-end truck accident lawyer on your side, looking out for your best interests.

Rear-ended by a delivery truck

There are more delivery trucks than ever on the road. Many delivery truck drivers work for big corporations like Fed-Ex, UPS, Amazon and the US Postal Service (USPS). Others work for moving companies delivering furniture and other household items across the country. There are also many other local delivery truck drivers who work for local businesses.

With all these delivery trucks on the road, it’s no wonder that rear-end delivery truck accidents often occur. When a rear-end delivery truck accident happens, accident victims often sustain serious injuries and significant damage to their vehicle. That’s why it’s critical that injury victims take steps right away to protect their health and their rights. 

Rear-ended by a bus

Rear-end bus accidents can involve a wide range of buses, including school buses, city buses and commercial buses, including Greyhound, Megabus, Bolt Bus and private charter buses. If drivers are hit from behind by a large bus, the damage can be significant. 

Depending on the speed the bus was traveling, if more than two vehicles were involved in the collision and many other factors, rear-end bus accidents often result in serious injuries and sometimes even fatalities.

If you or a loved one was involved in a rear-end accident caused by a bus driver, be prepared for a very complicated legal case. This is because you will likely need to deal with a bus company (and its insurance provider) rather than the bus driver directly to get the compensation you deserve for your bus accident-related expenses.

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If you have been rear ended by a truck driver, you need to act fast to protect your health and your rights. Depending on the circumstances of your rear-end truck accident, you may need to take slightly different or additional steps. 

If you are still at the scene of your rear-end truck accident, such steps include:

  1. Call the police. If you’re not sure which number to call, simply call 911. Most states require drivers to report serious accidents. And many rear-end truck accidents result in serious injuries and significant damage.
  2. Ask the police to send an ambulance if you or anyone else appears injured.
  3. If you can safely do so, take photos of your accident. The more pictures, the better.
  4. If someone saw your collision, get their name and phone number before they leave the scene of your accident. Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful piece of evidence in support of your rear-end truck accident claim.
  5. Get the truck or bus driver’s name, as well as their insurance information, driver’s license number and the name of the company they work for.
  6. Give your contact information (name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance information) to the truck or bus driver.
  7. Don’t discuss your accident with anyone, including the truck driver and other people at the scene of your truck accident. Anything you say could later be used as evidence to deny your injury claim.
  8. See a doctor as soon as possible. If necessary, go to the nearest hospital emergency room and have an ER doctor examine you.
  9. Call a lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you have a rear-end truck accident attorney working with you, the stronger your injury claim or truck accident lawsuit. 

If your rear-end truck accident happened a few hours or days ago, it’s still not too late to take certain steps, including:

  • Schedule a follow-up appointment with a doctor. Many rear-end truck accident injuries have delayed symptoms, including whiplash and concussions.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice. If you don’t, you might not fully recover and your injury claim might be denied.
  • Get a copy of your accident report from the investigating police officer. That way, you can review the report and make sure it’s accurate.
  • Call a rear-end truck accident attorney to learn more about your legal rights. 

Who investigates rear-end truck accidents?

Along with local police, your truck accident might be investigated by a state trooper, especially if it occurred on a state or federal highway. Many serious truck accidents are also investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), particularly truck accidents that result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Each local, state or federal official that investigates your accident will likely create an official accident report. Make sure you get a copy of your accident report (or reports) and carefully review them. Insurance companies do the same when determining how much money injury claims are worth.

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Often, it’s the truck driver or bus driver who’s at fault in rear-end truck accidents. But one of the things that makes these accidents different is there may be more than one at-fault party, especially in cases involving rear-end tractor-trailer accidents. Along with the bus or truck driver, additional at-fault parties may include:

  • The company the driver works for, especially if the trucking company or bus company knowingly hired a driver with a history of reckless driving or a driver without a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
  • The company that loaded the truck, especially if the truck was loaded improperly and the contents of the truck shifted in transit, resulting in the rear-end truck accident.
  • The company that manufactured the truck’s brakes or tires, especially if a tire blowout or brake failure contributed to your collision.

Every rear-end truck accident is different. Additional companies may be at fault and may have contributed to your rear-end truck collision in some way. This is why it’s critical that injury victims talk to a lawyer right away who knows how to investigate such serious accidents.

Common reasons for rear-end truck accidents

Rear-end truck accidents occur when a truck collides with the back of a car. These types of accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Distracted driving: If the truck driver is not paying attention to the road, they may fail to notice that traffic has stopped or slowed, resulting in a rear-end collision.

  2. Reckless driving: Speeding or following too closely can increase the risk of a rear-end collision.

  3. Drowsy driving: Truck drivers who are fatigued or asleep at the wheel may fail to react in time to stop a rear-end collision.

  4. Poor weather conditions: Inclement weather, such as heavy rain or fog, can reduce visibility and increase the risk of rear-end collisions.

  5. Vehicle malfunction: If the truck's brakes or other safety systems are not functioning properly, it may be difficult for the driver to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision.

  6. Poor road conditions: Potholes, debris, or other hazards in the roadway can increase the risk of rear-end collisions.

  7. Sudden stops: If a car in front of a truck makes a sudden stop, the truck may not have enough time to react and avoid a rear-end collision.

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The short answer is your settlement should cover all your accident-related expenses. The problem is there’s often a lot of debate about which expenses should be included in a rear-end truck accident settlement.

Many insurance companies only take into account short-term expenses immediately after a rear-end truck accident. But your settlement offer should include all of your accident-related expenses, including future anticipated ones. Such expenses can include:

  • All medical care, including anticipated medical treatments related to your truck accident injury, even if such medical care occurs years after your collision. Medical care can include surgery, follow-up doctor’s appointments and physical therapy.
  • Repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle.
  • Replacement income if you cannot work due to your rear-end truck accident injury.
  • Lost future income if you cannot return to work due to a permanent disability.
  • Modifications to your home, such as installing a wheelchair ramp if you or a loved one sustained a permanent disability due to your rear-end truck accident.
  • Pain and suffering in certain circumstances.

All these reasons create a wide range of how much your settlement could be worth. They can average anywhere from $3,000 to well over $50,000. For severe injuries, including death, settlements can get as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is why it is important to speak with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case. A Premier Attorney will give you a free case consultation and will go over your legal options.

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Sometimes, the best way to get the money you rightfully deserve for your rear-end truck accident is to file a lawsuit seeking damages, the legal term for financial compensation. 

But who can you sue? It depends on the circumstances of your collision. In general, you can take legal action against any at-fault party who contributed to your accident in some way. Such at-fault parties can include:

  • The truck or bus driver who caused your accident
  • The company the bus or truck driver works for
  • The company that manufactured the truck or bus, especially if a mechanical defect or defective truck part caused your collision.
  • The company that loaded the truck, especially if the truck was loaded improperly.
  • The company that packaged the items inside the truck, especially if the items were packaged improperly and shifted in transit, resulting in an accident.

In addition, injury victims might also be able to choose where to file their rear-end truck accident lawsuit. This is because the at-fault party might live or work in a different state than the one where the accident took place.

All these questions require careful consideration. This is why injury victims should talk to an experienced rear-end truck accident lawyer right away. A Premier Attorney listed on this website can meet with you, free of charge. They can review your case, answer your questions and explain your legal options.

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