Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
Tractor Trailer Rear End Collisions
Based on my experience, the most common types of personal injury cases arising out of car crashes are rear-end collisions. Tractor trailer rear-end collisions are a different type of accident than a typical passengercar rear-end collision. That is for a number of reasons, mainly because the enormous size of a tractor trailer can create catastrophic impacts when it collides with the rear of a stopped car.
Rear-end collisions involving commercial vehicles typically occur in a number of scenarios:
- A tractor trailer driver is not paying attention to signs warning of construction zones, causing the truck to smash into the rear end of cars that are slowed down or stopped for construction traffic;
- A truck driver is not driving safe speeds during high traffic times such as rush hour, when traffic is heavy and traffic patterns are unpredictable;
- A big rig driver fails to anticipate stopped traffic for another accident and crashes into the back of stopped vehicles;
- An 18 wheeler driver is distracted due to texting, talking with another occupant, reading documents, tinkering with equipment, or doing something else that is inappropriate for a trucker of a moving truck;
- A commercial vehicle is speeding above the safe speed limit, or traveling at an excessive speed due to weather conditions, causing a rear-end collision.
Rear-end collisions by tractor trailers can occur in many circumstances, but the common thread is that the truck driver is driving in an unsafe manner and violating rules of the road. It is this unsafe driving that puts others at grave risk of injury or death.
Injuries from rear-end collisions can come in a variety of forms. Injuries can include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe whiplash, spine injuries, herniated disks, shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). Some accidents are so severe that they lead to death and a potential wrongful death claim. These accidents can be life altering events.
Following a rear-end trucking collision, there are a number of steps that must be taken to investigate and preserve evidence. It is vital to obtain permission to download electronic information from the tractor trailer’s Electronic Control Module or black box, which will indicate the truck’s speed right before impact, whether the truck driver attempted to apply the brakes, and other helpful information about what the truck was doing right before the rear-end collision.
Many tractor trailers are also equipped with cameras, some that focus on the outside of the truck and some on the inside. This camera footage on the outside can show if other drivers, obstacles, or conditions may have contributed to the accident, or it can contradict the truck driver’s version of the collision. Some trucks have cameras focused on the interior of the cab, and those could show whether the truck driver was distracted, paying attention, or even sleeping.
Rear-end collisions involving tractor trailers can cause catastrophic and devastating injuries. If you or a loved one was involved in a rear-end collision with a commercial truck, it is vital that you take immediate steps to preserve your rights and to make sure evidence does not disappear. To do that, you must contact an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable about trucking accidents and the FMCSA.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Robert E. Byrne, Jr., an attorney experienced in handling injury claims from interstate motor carriers. We only charge a fee for a civil recovery on your behalf. Bob can be reached by phone at (434) 817-3100 or by email at [email protected].