Rear-end accidents are some of the most common accidents. The Insurance Information Institute calculates that in a recent year, 2 million rear-end collisions occurred out of the 4.4 million crashes with another moving vehicle. With such high statistics making up almost half the number of annual crashes, rear-end incidents are serious – and when the vehicle that rear-ended yours is a commercial truck, the resulting damages can be severe.
If you were rear-ended by a truck, you may be eligible for compensation. Speak to a truck accident attorney in Houston to find out more.
What Causes Rear-End Accidents?
Rear-end accidents occur for many reasons, and they generally are the fault of the driver who rear-ends someone else. Distracted driving is one of the main causes. It includes any activity that pulls the driver’s attention from driving and focuses it on something else, whether texting on a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, changing the radio station or fiddling with a GPS.
In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 3,450 deaths from distracted driving. Cell phone usage contributes heavily to these deaths so that in 2017, Texas passed a statewide ban on using wireless devices for text messaging while driving. Eliminating distracted driving could go a long way toward reducing rear-end accidents.
Weather conditions also affect a vehicle’s ability to stop in time. Driving too fast during wet conditions can lead to skidding or hydroplaning which prevents a vehicle from stopping in time. Neglecting to replace brakes is a major reason for rear-end accidents. Speeding is also a cause of such incidents and one that is easily avoidable.
Trucks often rear-end other vehicles because they do not have enough time to stop. Loaded trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This weight makes it impossible for the driver to stop as quickly as smaller vehicles. They need adequate space to decelerate such a heavy load.
Danger increases when trucks encounter rear-end accidents because they often are transporting hazardous materials with flammable and explosive properties. Trucks often override vehicles when they rear-end them, meaning the back of the vehicle slides under the front of the truck. This endangers the backseat passengers most and can cause brain and spinal cord injuries.
Others causes for rear-end accidents can also place liability on the lead vehicle. One such instance is “brake-checking.” This involves a driver slamming on the brakes to send an aggressive message to “back off” to a tail-gating driver. Reversing suddenly in a parking lot is another such instance. Driving significantly below the speed limit without using hazard lights or neglecting to repair a broken brake light can cause rear-end accidents that are the responsibility of the lead vehicle.
Handling Rear-End Accidents
Many causes for rear-end accidents are avoidable, but unfortunately, they still happen – and rear-end accidents involving trucks often result in more serious consequences. Follow the steps below to appropriately handle a rear-end accident:
- After the incident, obtain proper medical treatment immediately. Whiplash is an extremely common neck injury associated with rear-end accidents that involve the head whipping back suddenly, causing injury to the neck and upper back. Other possible injuries include concussions, broken bones, and lacerations from broken glass. Serious injuries can result from a truck rear-ending your vehicle.
- Collect evidence after the incident by taking photos of both vehicles and exchanging contact information with the other driver. Find out which company insures their vehicle.
- File a police report. It’s always best to file a report even for minor rear-end accidents. This report is helpful when filing a claim for any compensation due to injuries.
- Lastly, contact a personal injury attorney in Houston to handle your case. You may be eligible for compensation for vehicle damage and injuries.
Many people who have experienced a rear-end truck accident have a right to compensation for the resulting damages. If you’re eligible for a claim, following these steps can help you increase your chances of success.