Pasadena Rear-End Truck Accidents
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of auto accident in the country. Many times, these crashes are considered minor. But that’s not necessarily true if a car is rear-ended by a commercial truck.
Truck accidents are notorious for causing the worst injuries. It’s basic physics. When you’re hit by a tractor-trailer that’s four times your size, it’s very likely that someone in your vehicle is going to get hurt.
Have you been injured in a rear-end truck accident in Pasadena? Many such collisions are caused by the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company. In these cases, injured Californians have the right to file a claim for compensation for their injuries and related losses.
Truck accident claims are complex. You’ll need the assistance of an experienced Pasadena truck accident lawyer to determine who should be held liable and how much compensation you are truly entitled to. The Law Offices of Pius Joseph can help.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Common Causes Of Rear-End Truck Accidents
Rear-end truck accidents can be caused by many factors. Common causes include:
- Speeding: Due to their size and weight, trucks take much longer to slow down and stop. When a truck driver speeds, it takes even longer. Sometimes, there’s not enough time to avoid hitting the car in front of them. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), speeding is a major factor in many truck accidents.
- Following too closely: A trucker who tailgates the vehicle in front of them is at risk of causing a rear-end collision if the driver in front has to brake suddenly.
- Defective brakes: Federal regulations require the braking systems of trucks to be inspected and repaired before the truck hits the road. They should also be inspected periodically throughout the trip. When trucking companies or truckers fail to follow these rules, a brake failure could result in a rear-end collision.
- Mechanical failures: Tire blowouts, engine failure, and electrical problems are common in poorly maintained tractor-trailers. Any of these problems could cause the truck to lose control and slam the back of a nearby car.
- Distracted driving: Although it is illegal to use a handheld device while driving a truck, FMCSA has documented cell phone use as a frequent violation. There were 20,637 documented violations involving handheld mobile phones in a single year, according to the most recent data.
- Impaired driving: Truck drivers cannot focus properly on the road if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Impaired drivers also have slowed reflexes, which means a trucker may not respond in time to stop when a driver stops unexpectedly.
- Drowsy driving: Truckers put in long hours on the road. However, they are bound by federal hours-of-service rules that require them to take mandatory rest breaks. Unfortunately, these regulations are sometimes violated. A fatigued truck driver may be as impaired as a drunk driver on the road, increasing the potential of causing a deadly crash.
Rear-end truck accidents may occur due to any of these factors, or a combination of them. A skilled truck accident lawyer can conduct an investigation into what happened in your case. It’s important to determine exactly what happened so the correct party(s) are held liable. In some cases, you may be dealing with more than one defendant.
Why Are Rear-End Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
A rear-end accident caused by a commercial truck can lead to serious injuries. When a car is struck from behind, the occupants’ bodies are thrust forward and snapped back only when the vehicle stops or a safety restraint like a seat belt or airbag engages. The force of impact is more violent given the size of a large truck, increasing the likelihood of more severe trauma.
Even more dangerously, rear-end truck accidents caused at high speeds could lead to an override collision. This happens when the truck runs over the car in front of them. Override accidents are frequently fatal and can cause catastrophic trauma to any survivors.
In addition, a rear-end truck accident often sets off a chain reaction. The car that was struck will be propelled forward and could hit other cars in front of them. This, in turn, could lead to further rear-end accidents — and even more injuries.
Injuries Caused By Rear-End Truck Accidents
The severity of the injuries that result from a rear-end truck accident will depend on many factors, such as how fast the truck was traveling and whether the vehicle that was struck was moving or stationary.
Common injuries caused by rear-end truck collisions include:
- Neck injuries, particularly whiplash
- Back or spinal cord injuries, such as herniated discs or paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Torso injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries to ligaments and tendons
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations
Sadly, many truck accident injuries are fatal. In those cases, California law allows eligible family members to file a wrongful death claim for compensation against the negligent party. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, Pasadena attorney Pius Joseph can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Are Rear-End Truck Accidents Always The Trucker’s Fault?
No. While truck drivers are held to a high standard when it comes to driving safely, they are not always at fault for collisions. Multiple parties may be to blame.
For example, the trucking company might be liable if it hired an unskilled and undertrained driver to operate the vehicle. They are also known to pressure drivers into breaking hours-of-service regulations so that deliveries are early, and penalize those who are late.
If poor maintenance caused the rear-end truck accident, liability could fall on the trucker, trucking company, and/or any mechanics responsible for repairing the rig.
Other potential defendants include:
- The truck’s owner
- Cargo loader
- Other drivers
- Local governments and municipalities
What If You Share Fault For The Wreck?
You could be partially at fault for the accident that injured you as well. That’s OK when it comes to compensation. In California, being partially responsible does not prevent you from collecting compensation for your injuries.
California uses a doctrine known as pure comparative fault to determine liability in personal injury cases, including truck accident claims. Put simply, you are still eligible to obtain compensation even if you are 99 percent at fault for the crash. However, your percentage of fault is subtracted from the total amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Who determines your degree of fault? In a rear-end truck accident lawsuit, it is up to a judge or jury to assign your portion of fault. In cases that don’t go to trial, it’s a debate between you, your lawyer (if you hire one), and the insurance company.
Being assigned a fair portion of fault will make or break the amount of compensation you can receive in a rear-end truck accident claim. It’s safe to say that any defendant will try to shift the blame onto you in order to reduce their ultimate payout. With so much at stake, it’s essential to contact an accomplished truck accident attorney to protect your right to full and fair compensation.
When To Contact A Lawyer After A Rear-End Truck Accident
After any rear-end truck accident, it is imperative that accident victims speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Commercial trucking companies are protected by powerful insurance carriers who will send their adjusters to the accident scene immediately. You’ll want a lawyer to start investigating before valuable evidence is lost or tampered with.
Unfortunately, trucking companies have been found to alter their documentation in an effort to limit their own liability in the wake of a collision. You need an experienced attorney to get to work right away to prevent and/or identify falsified information.
In addition, trucking companies are not required to keep their documents forever. You’ll want an attorney on your case right away before any essential paperwork is destroyed.
Always call a truck accident lawyer if:
- The accident caused serious injuries: California medical expenses are high, and rear-end truck accidents may result in injuries that need extensive treatment. An attorney will fight for compensation to cover past, current, and future medical expenses, among other damages. You shouldn’t have to pursue a claim while you’re trying to recover from serious injuries. A lawyer can take care of every detail of the case so you can focus on healing.
- You are unable to return to work: Most truck accident victims cannot return to work right away after a crash. Some are never able to work again. This can lead to serious and lasting financial hardships for victims and their families. A lawyer can demand compensation not only for lost wages, but also lost future income and diminished earning capacity. A full and fair award will take your long-term needs into account.
- It is unclear who was at fault: Due to the many possible parties who could be held liable in a truck accident claim, you’ll need a lawyer to identify who should be held accountable and seek compensation from them. Often, this means dealing with multiple insurance companies and policies. This can be a frustrating and confusing process, and certainly not what you need while recovering from a wreck.
- Multiple vehicles were involved: Rear-end truck accidents that involve several cars get complex because your claim will likely go through several insurance companies on top of the trucking company’s own insurers. Questions of fault will also deepen and other related issues could arise throughout the case. An attorney can sort through these complications to resolve your claim as quickly as possible.
- The police report is inaccurate: Police reports are generally considered inadmissible in court, but they can be used to prove a case to the insurance company. Unfortunately, police reports are not always accurate. When that is the case, an attorney can determine how the crash happened with the help of technology and accident reconstruction experts.
- The insurance company does not cooperate: Accident victims should not speak to an insurance company until they have spoken to a lawyer. If they do, they run the risk of saying something that can be used against them to reduce or deny their claims. A lawyer can take over all communications with the insurance company as soon as he or she is hired. When an adjuster calls, you don’t have to say anything. Just direct them to your attorney.
- The liable party’s attorney has contacted you: Trucking companies have teams of lawyers who will argue against the claims of accident victims and deflect fault by any means possible. A strong truck accident attorney will build a solid, evidence-based case to refute their claims.
Finally, you should contact a lawyer any time you feel uncertain about what to do. The Law Offices of Pius Joseph offers free consultations to accident victims. There’s nothing to lose by scheduling a case review. You’ll leave with free legal advice, regardless of whether you choose to hire us or not.
How Can The Law Offices of Pius Joseph Help Me?
After a rear-end truck accident, you need a Pasadena truck accident lawyer by your side. At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we understand the state and federal regulations related to these complex claims, and we can help navigate you the process.
Our legal team is dedicated to providing high-quality and compassionate legal services to every client. We know how important it is to obtain maximum compensation. When you work with us, you get a law firm that will fight aggressively for the money you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been hurt, call or contact us to schedule your free consultation.