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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Who's At Fault in Rear End Truck Accidents: Liability in Personal Injury Claims

A rear-end collision is when one vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle. In these types of car accidents, property damage and injuries can sometimes be significant, which is why it is important to establish fault and liability. When a rear-end collision involves a truck, the damages can be even greater- but who's at fault in rear-end truck accidents, and what should people do if they are involved in one?

The General Rule for Real-End Collisions

The General Rule for Real-End Collisions

Most people assume that if a vehicle of any kind crashes into the back of their vehicle, the other driver is to blame. This is because, generally speaking, that is very often the case. The automatic assumption is that the rear driver is at fault because they should not have been close enough to collide with the lead driver in any situation- thus making them the negligent driver.

However, people wrongly believe that this is always the case. Rear-end accidents may often be the fault of the trailing driver, but there are exceptions to the rule.

When Is the Driver Behind Not At-Fault in a Rear-End Accident?

Sometimes, rear-end motor vehicle accidents are the fault of the driver in front, whether they are in a car, truck, or other vehicle. A person can be driving at a safe following distance and still end up in a rear-end crash if the lead driver fails to give fair warning of their actions or is otherwise negligent in their duty as a road user. Here are some examples.

  • The lead vehicle suddenly starts reversing at an unexpected moment- leaving the rear car with nowhere to go.

  • There is a fault with the brake lights on the front vehicle, so the driver behind does not know they are braking until it is too late.

  • A person suddenly stops without warning and for no good reason- also known as brake checking- creating a dangerous situation on the road.

  • If the driver of the vehicle in front has a mechanical failure but does not pull to the side on time or put on their hazards, they could be at fault for the accident if someone hits them.

Does It Make Any Difference if One of the Vehicles Is a Truck?

The rules are not different in rear-end collisions if one or more of the vehicles is a truck, but the potential dangers and consequences are greater. If anything, truck drivers are given more leeway because cars and other road users should be driving with extra caution when sharing the road with a large commercial vehicle. A truck that is rear-ended by a car or vice versa is subject to the same rules and scrutiny when it comes to establishing fault.

How to Establish Fault in a Rear-End Collision with a Truck

If someone is rear-ended by a truck, or drives into the back one, they need to figure out who is at fault and liable for the damages. It comes down to two things: who is the negligent driver, and how did their actions cause the accident? Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also give more insight to who's at fault in truck tire blowouts.

Negligence and Cause

Every road user, no matter what they drive, has a duty of care to others to drive safely and responsibly. Failure to do so is negligence- and negligence makes a person liable if their actions lead to someone getting hurt or property being damaged. Examples of negligent driving that could put someone at fault for a rear-end collision include:

  • Distracted driving (front or rear drivers)

  • Failing to drive at a safe distance (rear drivers)

  • Aggressive driving (purposely tailgating or suddenly breaking in response to a driver that is too close behind)

  • Having broken brake lights

  • Changing lanes unsafely

Once negligence is established, that leads to cause- meaning how their actions are to blame for the accident. Usually, this is clear in rear-end collision claims. If someone was being negligent by driving too close, they caused the accident by failing to leave enough space to stop safely.

However, it can quickly get complicated when more than one driver acts in a way that contributes to the accident. This is called comparative negligence. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also explain who's at fault in head-on truck accidents.

Comparative Negligence in Rear-End Collisions

It is possible for more than one of the drivers involved in a rear-end truck collision to be deemed responsible. If one car rear-ends another because they were driving too close, but the leading vehicle had no brake light, they both contributed to the accident.

The rules of comparative negligence state that a person can claim damages if they are partially to blame as long as someone else is more to blame than they are, but the settlement amount will be adjusted accordingly. Truck and car insurance companies refuse to pay damages to those who are more than 49% responsible for an accident.

What to Do After a Rear-End Truck or Car Accident

What to Do After a Rear-End Truck or Car Accident

When a rear-end collision occurs involving a car or truck, all parties should stay at the accident scene and call the police. Leaving before the police arrive can be extremely damaging to a case. They should also get the contact and insurance company information of everyone involved immediately before anyone leaves. If the person is able to, taking photos and speaking to witnesses can help later in the claim.

Regardless of how minor the injuries may seem, anyone involved in rear-end collisions should seek medical attention as soon as possible- especially if the impact involved a truck. It is the best decision for the sake of health, but the doctor's report can also be used later as evidence when pursuing compensation.

Another thing to do as soon as possible is contact trusted Houston semi truck accident lawyers who can begin putting together a case and making a thorough investigation into who is to blame.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Go to War for Hou Accident Victims

Any auto accident can lead to painful injuries and significant expenses, especially if a truck is involved. Trying to prove fault in a rear-end accident is not as straightforward as people think, which is why it is best to have the backing of an elite legal team. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah today for a free consultation to discuss a rear-end truck accident and the vital next steps.


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