I Was Rear-Ended by a Semi Truck — What Should I Do?
If you’ve been rear-ended by a semi truck, you’re most likely dealing with serious pain as you face expensive medical bills and a long recovery, not to mention the impacts on your career and your day-to-day life.
Unfortunately, these devastating crashes are all too common. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that 22 percent of all large truck crashes involve a truck colliding with the rear end of another vehicle, which amounts to about 96,360 rear-end crashes nationwide each year.
If you’ve been rear-ended by a semi truck in Oklahoma and you’ve suffered serious injuries, read on to learn about what you can do next and whether the truck driver is always at fault when a truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle.
What Do I Do Right After the Crash?
The most important step right after a crash is to call 9-1-1 and report the accident to authorities. However, we’ll assume you’re past that point if you’re reading this.
After reporting the crash and calling emergency personnel to the scene, the next important step is to receive medical treatment for your injuries. This includes receiving emergency treatment and attending all follow-up appointments scheduled by your doctor. You should also keep your doctor informed about your overall health. For example, let them know about any new symptoms that show up in the days, weeks, and months after the crash.
Once your medical treatment is underway, you should consider speaking with an experienced truck accident lawyer for a free assessment of your case. You may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages by filing a personal injury claim, but only an attorney who knows the facts of your situation can give you an accurate appraisal of your case’s merits.
For more information about what to do after a trucking accident, including steps to take at the scene, please read our previous blog article on this subject.
Is the Truck Driver Always at Fault When a Semi Truck Rear-Ends a Car?
If you’ve been rear-ended by a tractor-trailer or truck, you might be wondering: Is the truck driver automatically at fault?
While we can’t speculate about who was at fault without knowing the unique facts of your case, it’s generally true that when one driver rear-ends another, the rear-ending driver is at fault. Drivers are responsible for traveling at a safe speed and leaving enough space between their car and the vehicle ahead. Most rear-end collisions occur because a driver failed to do one or both of these things.
However, truck accident cases are often much more complex than they seem at first. In a rear-end crash, the truck may have failed to stop due to poor maintenance of the vehicle’s brakes. In that case, the trucking company might be liable for its failure to properly maintain the vehicle.
On the other hand, if the vehicle’s brakes were in disrepair and defective, the manufacturer who made the brakes could be liable for your injuries. And all of these various factors could have combined to cause or worsen the crash that injured you, in which case you might have multiple valid claims against different parties.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
In the past, we’ve discussed car accidents on this blog and noted that some car accident cases don’t require the services of a lawyer. However, that’s not true for truck accident cases, which are far more complex than the average car accident case.
It’s very difficult (if not impossible) for the average person to properly investigate a truck accident case and determine all the factors that could have caused the wreck, including mechanical failures and driver behavior. These devastating crashes often involve multiple vehicles, and they produce a huge volume of evidence that an attorney has to carefully review. That’s on top of keeping track of and organizing extensive medical bills and records as well as dealing with the insurance company or companies.
Not only that, but trucking companies and their insurers often employ expensive legal teams who get to work right away after an accident to protect their employer. Sometimes they even go to the lengths of breaking the law and covering up valuable evidence that could show the trucking company or truck driver was at fault.
To level the playing field and see that the trucking and insurance companies don’t undermine your claim, you should contact an experienced trucking accident lawyer right away if a large truck rear-ended your vehicle and injured you or someone you love.
Contact Atkins & Markoff for Help if You’ve Been Rear-Ended by a Truck in Oklahoma
If you’ve been rear-ended by a semi truck, tractor-trailer, or other large truck and suffered serious injuries, the team of experienced trucking accident lawyers at Atkins & Markoff is ready to listen to your story and fight to get you justice and compensation if we’re able to take your case.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving a large truck, contact Atkins & Markoff today by calling 405-607-8757 or filling out our quick and simple online contact form. We’ll get back to you right away. Your initial consultation is free, and we handle all personal injury cases on a “no-win, no-fee” basis, so you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we get you a settlement or win your case in court.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2007). The large truck crash causation study (Publication No. FMCSA-RRA-07-017). Washington, D.C.: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Office of Research and Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2016, May). Traffic safety facts: 2014 data (DOT HS 812 279). Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812279
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.