Truck Rear-End Accidents

Truck rear-end accidents can be catastrophic and sometimes fatal. Imagine a massive 18-wheeler slamming into the back of your car. In a second, you and your family could be severely injured or killed because of the truck’s weight and the force of the collision. These accidents can be even worse if the truck slams into the back of you on the highway, in stopped traffic.

Understanding what to do after a truck rear-end accident can be confusing. Understanding your legal rights can be even more be challenging. That’s why you should consider talking to a truck rear-end accident attorney at Nix Patterson today. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience obtaining settlements and favorable verdicts for our personal injury clients.

What Is a Rear-End Truck Accident?

A rear-end truck accident involves a tractor-trailer or other truck hitting another vehicle from behind. Because of the truck’s size and weight, the collision force can be horrific, leading to severe and often fatal injuries for those inside the front vehicle.

These accidents may happen when a driver sits in stopped traffic on a highway or at an intersection. For whatever reason, the truck driver doesn’t slow down enough and slams into the front vehicle.

Why Is a Rear-End Truck Accident So Hazardous?

A rear-end accident usually happens when the rear vehicle doesn’t stop as it should and hits the rear end of the next car. Unfortunately, a rear-end accident can be even more hazardous when a tractor-trailer is involved because of these factors:

  • Time to brake. Because of the truck’s size and weight, it takes the driver significantly longer to stop. So, many rear-end truck crashes happen when the truck is speeding. The faster the semi travels, the more severe the impact may be.
  • Weight. A fully loaded big rig can weigh 80,000 pounds and may crush a conventional passenger vehicle.
  • Multi-vehicle accidents. When a big rig rear-ends a smaller vehicle, it can be forced into other vehicles, leading to a multi-vehicle accident. This chain reaction crash can cause many injuries and deaths, making rear-end truck accidents some of the most dangerous on the road.

Rear-Ended by a Truck vs. Rear-Ending a Truck

Some drivers are rear-ended by a truck in traffic, which can cause severe and fatal injuries. In this situation, the truck driver may be at fault for failure to stop.

However, another common scenario is when a driver rear-ends a truck. This can occur because the passenger vehicle driver wasn’t paying attention or fell asleep at the wheel, among other reasons. Unfortunately, rear-ending a truck in a car also can cause severe or deadly injuries. The rear of the trailer could hit the hood or windshield of the smaller vehicle in the accident.

Tractor-trailers in the U.S. must have rear under guards on the backs of their trailers to prevent a car from sliding under the trailer in a crash. However, these guards are only required to withstand a 35 MPH impact, so a higher-speed collision could still cause severe injuries.

What Causes Most Rear-End Truck Collisions?

Traffic accident research suggests that many rear-end accidents happen when a driver slows down to turn or comes to a stop in traffic, and the rear driver does not. For instance, suppose a big rig driver is distracted by his cell phone and doesn’t see traffic slowing on the interstate. He could slam into a smaller vehicle in front, potentially killing the occupants.

Other causes of rear-end truck collisions are:

  • Tailgating. If the trucker follows the vehicle too closely and that driver hits his brakes, the truck could smash into it.
  • DUI. Alcohol affects our judgment and muscle coordination. Some rear-end crashes are caused by truckers being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Fatigued driving. Federal regulations limit truck drivers’ driving time without resting. Still, many truckers break the rules and drive longer than they should. An infamous example was the New Jersey truck crash that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan. A fatigued Walmart truck driver was faulted for the accident.
  • Speeding. Driving too fast often causes rear-end truck crashes. Drivers are in a hurry to deliver their cargo and could drive faster than they should. Trucks take longer to slow down than cars, so speeding can lead to catastrophic crashes.

What Kinds of Injuries Are Sustained in a Rear-End Collision?

How severely a driver or passenger is hurt in a rear-end truck crash depends on the speed and severity of the accident. Sadly, many people in these accidents are seriously injured or killed because of the massive size disparity between the vehicles. Common injuries include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Facial trauma
  • Burns
  • Crushed limbs and amputations
  • Bruising and lacerations
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Wrongful death

What Occurs Legally After a Rear-End Truck Crash?

No matter how the truck accident occurred, the legal process is the same. If you are in the condition to do so, there are things you can do after the truck accident to aid a potential claim or lawsuit:

  • Call the police to report the rear-end truck crash.
  • Take photos of your injuries, vehicle damages, accident scene, etc.
  • Exchange contact information with the truck driver.
  • Speak to witnesses and obtain their contact details.
  • Call 911 for anyone who is hurt after the truck accident.

In most rear-end truck crashes, the rear driver is at fault. So, if you are rear-ended by the truck, you could hear from their insurance provider quickly. They may attempt to get you to sign a settlement agreement before you speak to a lawyer, but you should always decline any early settlement offer. Have your attorney talk to the truck company’s insurance provider instead.

Liability in Rear-End Truck Accidents

Liability in rear-end tractor-trailer accidents can be complicated to navigate. Comparative negligence can be a factor in many states, meaning the driver seeking compensation could be partially at fault. However, in many accidents where a truck rear-ended another vehicle, the truck driver or their employer is at fault. In some cases, a brake defect or maintenance issue could also be involved.

A Nix Patterson truck accident attorney can review your case at no cost to determine who could be at fault. Liability could be split between multiple parties, and your attorney will find every insurance policy that could be tapped for compensation.

Contact Our Truck Rear-End Accident Attorneys

Truck accidents are often catastrophic and traumatic. If it happens to you, the last thing you must worry about is money and paying your bills. When another party causes the rear-end accident, you should enlist the assistance of a personal injury attorney to help with the case.

Contact a Nix Patterson truck rear-end accident attorney today for a complimentary case consultation. Remember, our attorneys aren’t paid unless they win your case.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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