If you have been in a rear-end accident with a truck in Texas, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. We tend to think of rear-end collisions as common, but when a passenger vehicle is rear-ended by an 80,000-pound commercial truck, that is another matter altogether. Injuries stemming from rear-end truck accidents are often severe, resulting in lifelong physical challenges, or even death.
An experienced rear-end truck accident attorney can help ensure that you receive the compensation you need to recover from your accident. Our compassionate attorneys work hard to provide the personalized attention that every client deserves. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we are proud of the work we do to help accident victims, and we would like to hear about your situation.
We offer a 100% free consultation, in which you can tell us about what happened, ask any questions, and we’ll give you an idea of your next steps. Call us at (737) 249-6300 to schedule your free consultation.
Why Do I Need a Truck Rear-End Collision Attorney?
If you have been the victim of a rear-end collision, you may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and unsure of your next steps. A skilled Texas truck rear-end collision attorney will handle all aspects of your legal case while you rest and recover.
In general, in order to receive compensation after a rear-end accident, you will either file an insurance claim with the trucking company or file a personal injury lawsuit. In both of these situations, you will need to gather evidence, correctly submit paperwork, and communicate with adverse parties. Hiring an attorney will help ensure that this process goes smoothly. Some of the steps that a lawyer will help you with include:
- Communicating with the truck driver’s insurance company
- Investigating and gathering evidence about who caused the accident
- Communicating with your doctors to ensure that you have proper documentation of your injuries
- Organizing your medical records and bills
- Negotiating a settlement with the insurance company
- Advising you on taking a settlement versus going to trial
- Meeting with defense attorneys and judges
The trucking industry is governed by federal and state rules and regulations. If a truck driver or company broke any of these rules and that subsequently played a role in the accident, they can be held responsible.
For example, federal regulations require regular inspections of a truck’s braking mechanism. If the truck company failed to conduct this inspection and the brakes subsequently failed, the company can be held responsible. An experienced truck accident attorney will have detailed knowledge of these rules and regulations and will know the right questions to ask.
Why Should I Hire Gibson Hill Personal Injury?
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we understand the serious impact a truck rear-end collision can have on your life. We prioritize honesty, respect, and trust in all of our attorney-client relationships, and strive to treat our clients like family. This approach, combined with our hard work and deep knowledge of rear-end collision laws, allows us to consistently achieve successful results for our clients.
Gibson Hill Personal Injury handles truck rear-end collision cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means that we only get paid if you do. Instead of charging you hourly or weekly, we take a percentage of your overall settlement or verdict at the end of your case. If you don’t win your case, then you don’t owe us any money.
We also offer a 100% free initial consultation, so that we can discuss your case, and you can learn about your rights and legal options.
Truck Rear-End Collisions
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2014 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts Study, large trucks rear-ending passenger vehicles accounted for 18% of truck accidents with injuries. Passenger vehicles rear-ending large trucks accounted for 16.2% of truck accidents with injuries.
These are some of the factors that lead to rear-end collisions:
- Distracted driving (such as texting, calling, or eating while driving)
- Road rage
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Mechanical failure, especially of the braking system. Trucks have complicated braking systems that need to be regularly inspected. Braking failures can cause catastrophic rear-end accidents.
- Fatigued driving. Truck drivers are sometimes incentivized to drive long hours with minimal breaks. This can result in serious fatigue that diminishes a truck driver’s ability to drive safely.
Some of the most common injuries resulting from rear-end truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Herniated discs
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal bleeding/organ damage
One of the most dangerous scenarios in a rear-end truck accident is called an underride collision. When a passenger car rear-ends a truck, it can actually run under the truck, sometimes tearing off the top of the passenger vehicle, severely injuring or killing the occupants.
Is the Driver Who Rear-Ended Always at Fault?
Many people think that the driver who rear-ends the other vehicle is always at fault. This is true in the majority of cases, but fault is by no means applied automatically to the driver who rear-ended.
These are some examples of accidents in which the front driver may be considered at fault (the driver of the car that was rear-ended):
- Suddenly switching lanes and then braking, especially if it was without sufficient signaling
- Pulling out of a parking lot or making a turn too quickly for oncoming traffic to stop
- The front vehicle suddenly stopping for no reason
- Mechanical errors that make it impossible for a truck driver to stop or slow down. If the trucking company failed to conduct an inspection or replace a worn-down part, they can be held responsible.
It’s crucial, however, that a truck driver maintains a safe distance between their truck and the vehicle in front of them, given the weight of the truck and the amount of time it takes to slow it down.
Texas is a comparative-fault accident state, which means that the law considers the extent to which each party contributed to the accident. If you were found to be 30% responsible for the accident, while the other party was 70% responsible, then the other party would have to pay for 70% of your damages. Consider this example:
John realizes he is about to miss his exit on a freeway and suddenly changes lanes. He signals, but only for a few seconds before merging. He is rear-ended by a truck in the lane into which he merged. However, the truck driver was going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, which made it impossible for them to stop in time. In this situation, John may be considered 25% responsible while the truck driver is 75% responsible.
Every accident is unique, and assigning comparative fault percentages is a complicated task. It is not always easy to prove that one driver was speeding, distracted, tailgating, or otherwise driving irresponsibly. In some rear-end accidents, the involved drivers may have been the only witnesses, and may tell different accounts of the accident.
How Do I Prove That the Other Driver Was At Fault?
In order to avoid paying you, the truck company’s insurance provider will likely try to claim that you were at least 50% responsible for the accident. This means that the truck driver is not responsible for any of your damages.
Your lawyer will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and hire experts to help prove what really happened during your accident. This may involve tracking down other drivers who witnessed your accident, finding security camera videos of your accident, or looking at the truck driver’s cell phone records to determine if they were on their phone at the time of the accident. Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, can also help paint a picture of what happened.
Should I File an Insurance Claim or a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Your path to compensation will depend on the unique circumstances of your accident. Most people who have not suffered severe injuries and whose vehicles have minimal damage choose to file insurance claims. Because truck accidents often result in severe injury, the process of receiving an insurance payout may be more complicated. Insurance companies are incentivized to avoid giving high-value payouts, and work hard to deny or reduce these claims.
Trucking companies often offer victims a one-time, lump-sum settlement. It’s imperative that you consult with a lawyer before accepting any money from a trucking company. While many rear-end collisions do end with a settlement, trucking companies often initially offer a low-ball settlement. An attorney may be able to negotiate a higher settlement, or advise that you file a personal injury lawsuit. When you accept a settlement, you will be required to sign a document that releases the truck driver and the trucking company from any further liability. This means that you will be unable to take further legal action, even if your injury worsens or new evidence is uncovered.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the trucking company is unwilling to give you sufficient compensation, we may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, you can ask for compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Personal injury lawsuits can also end in settlements. The truck driver or company may offer you a pre-trial settlement in exchange for you dropping your case. If you do not take a settlement, your case will go to trial. Both sides will present evidence and examine witnesses. At the end of the trial, a judge or jury will deliver a verdict. The other party may be required to compensate you, or the judge or jury may decide that they were not at fault and don’t owe you any money.
Contact Gibson Hill Personal Injury Today
If you’ve been in a truck rear-end collision, compensation can help provide you with the money you need to cover your medical expenses, and get the help you need to recover. Money might not heal all of your wounds, but it can reduce financial stress and make you more comfortable.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we are ready to use every legal tool available to fight for you. We’re passionate about protecting the rights of victims who have suffered due to others’ carelessness. Give our truck accident attorneys a call today at (737) 249-6300 to schedule your free consultation.