Common sense tells us that larger and heavier vehicles will take longer to come to a complete stop than your standard and smaller passenger vehicles. Commercial vehicles are no exception to this rule. The sheer size of the average semi-truck makes a rear-end collision much more likely to result in serious injuries or even death to a driver of a passenger vehicle.
If you’ve been in a rear-end semi-truck crash, you may think you have an open and shut case. Many believe that truckers and their carriers are automatically responsible for every accident they’re involved in. This is simply not the case. In fact, there are plenty of good, law-abiding trucking companies out there that rarely are involved in accidents. Unfortunately – evidenced by the 3,940 semi-truck crashes in Washington State in 2016 – plenty of bad ones exist as well.
Assuming that a semi-truck driver is liable for a rear-end accident is an incorrect way of going about your case. First, there is no legal basis for this thought process, and second, it may derail a good case against a trucking company by leading you down the wrong path.
Having the right semi-truck accident attorney on your side can make all the difference. An attorney with experience handling these types of cases knows what to look for and can make proving negligence easy.
How Rear-End/Override Accident Cases Work
Rear-end collisions – also referred to as “override accidents” – occur when a semi-truck drives over and on top of the passenger vehicle. These crashes are often caused by driver fatigue, driver impairment, or distracted driving. Malfunctioning brakes, poorly-maintained wheels and tires, speeding, and oversized or improperly-secured cargo are other common factors found in rear-end collisions involving a semi-truck.
Cargo that is too large or improperly secured can throw off the semi-truck’s weight balance and center of gravity, which makes the truck harder to stop and generally more difficult to control. Conversely, liability for a collision that involves a passenger car crashing into the rear of a semi-truck can also be placed on the semi-truck driver. These are called “underride” accidents.
There is no law or statute that requires a trucking company to assume liability for a rear-end collision. Many different circumstances could’ve led to the crash, and only an experienced attorney will know how and what to prove for you to win your claim and get the most compensation possible.
Proving negligence – that the truck driver or trucking company did something wrong – is the key to your case. The police report and witness statements may not be enough. It takes hard facts.
Here’s an example. A trucker rear-ends your car on the highway, causing you severe injuries and a lengthy hospital stay. The trucker claims that it was impossible to slow down due to oncoming traffic, and he couldn’t avoid slamming into your car. Your attorney obtains the truck’s “Blackbox” – an electronic data recorder that monitors driver and vehicle performance – and sees the trucker only slammed his brakes on about 2 seconds before hitting you, a good sign he was distracted. With this information, your attorney can prove that the trucker wasn’t paying attention, instead fiddling with his radio.
Consulting With An Attorney After A Rear-End Collision
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed as the result of an override semi-truck accident, please contact experienced Washington State semi-truck accident attorney Chris Davis and the team at Davis Law Group, P.S. We represent injury victims across the state and are committed to fighting for our clients.
Our experienced semi-truck accident legal team invites you to give us a call. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page for a free and confidential case evaluation based on the facts of your case.