Being rear-ended by a semi-truck can have devastating consequences. Fully loaded commercial vehicles have a weight capacity of 80,000 pounds. In 2022, over 22% of all semi-truck accidents were rear-end collisions.

Why is that percentage so high? Sometimes this is due to the truck driver not leaving adequate space between themselves and the cars in front of them.

Oftentimes these accidents are caused by other drivers not realizing how much space a semi-truck needs to stop. Commonly, drivers will pull over in front of semi trucks not realizing that they did not leave the truck driver enough room to stop or a car will come to an abrupt stop leaving the truck driver with nowhere to go.

If you have been rear-ended by a commercial truck, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit through a personal injury lawyer. You may also have questions about who is liable, what compensation you could seek, and what the average cost of a rear-ended by semi truck settlement is.

Reasons Why Rear-End Truck Accidents Happen

Above mentioned were three common scenarios that cause semi-trucks to rear-end another vehicle. Below is a list of the most common reasons for rear-end truck accidents.

  • Distracted Driving – Not Paying Attention to the Road
  • Reckless Driving – Speeding, Following Closely, etc.
  • Tired Driving – Driving while Exhausted/Fatigued
  • Poor Weather Conditions – Heavy Rain or Fog
  • Vehicle Malfunction – Brake Failure or other Malfunctions
  • Poor Road Conditions – Potholes, Debris, etc.
  • Sudden Stops – Explained Above

The statistics from 2022 show that only 8% of semi-truck accidents are caused by external distractions while 13% was caused by driver fatigue. Drivers often feel pressure from dispatch to meet unreasonable deadlines so that the customers are satisfied.

This is where extensive driver training is key to having a safe and successful fleet. Truck drivers are held to higher standards because they are professional drivers. It is their responsibility to know when to continue driving and when to stop. The best example is with weather and road conditions.

It is important that if roads are becoming dangerous, drivers must use their professional opinion on when to shut their trucks down regardless of what dispatch says. Roadway problems were the cause of 20% of semi-truck accidents in 2022.

Average Tractor Trailer Rear-End Cost

Nearly 63% of drivers who have been rear ended by semi truck receive compensation. The average rear-ended by semi truck settlement ranges from $150,000 to $200,000 with the median verdict being approximately $93,909.

These statistics are not concrete because each settlement will have varying pieces of evidence. It is known that only 12% of cases are awarded over one million dollars.

Who is Liable for a Semi Truck Accident?

Trucking companies hold responsibility for their truck driver’s actions. Largely because the driver is operating company property on company time. The driver may also be held accountable if negligence played a role in the car accident.

However, it is not as simple as going after the company or the driver. This is because the company that loaded the semi-truck may be to blame for the accident if the product was not loaded properly.

The company, driver, and whoever loaded the trailer all hold insurance in the event that there is an accident. If you file a personal injury claim, you will be working with their insurance companies and not the companies or driver directly.

Many times the driver’s company and the company that loaded the trailer will be in two different states. It is possible that the rear-end accident happened in a different state than the other two are located. This is why it is critical to seek an experienced truck accident lawyer that will know how to navigate the claim and has your best interest in mind.

What Compensation Can You Seek?

After you have filed a truck accident claim you may be wondering what compensation you can seek. Below is a list of expenses that your settlement can include:

  • Medical Bills (Lost Wages)
    • Hospital and Doctor Bills
    • Prescription Medications
    • Ambulance Fees
    • Future Medical Costs
  • Repairing or Replacing Damaged Vehicle
  • Replacement Income if Unable to Work
  • Lost Future Income if Permanently Disabled
  • Pain and Suffering

This is not a comprehensive list and each claim will include a different combination of expenses. It is important to speak with an attorney about your personal injury claim to discuss the specifics of your case.

Companies Take Preventative Action

CDL companies are constantly seeking ways to increase safety in their fleets. Many companies have hiring requirements that include two years of safe driving prior to employment. Granted, many companies accept new drivers but these companies have the drivers complete extensive training with a qualified trainer.

The majority of carriers have also implemented a variety of safety features on their semi-trucks. These features are listed below:

Collision Avoidance System

This technology uses sensors on the front bumper of the truck and a camera built into the windshield to detect objects in front of the trucks.

The sensor works with the camera to provide a relative distance and speed of the object or vehicle ahead. If a driver is using adaptive cruise control, the truck will adjust its speed until an acceptable following distance is met.

When a driver’s collision mitigation signals, the driver has a few seconds to adjust their following distance. If they do not adjust their following distance, a video clip will be sent to their company’s safety department and a headway warning will be issued to the driver.

This system reassures drivers that they are traveling at a safe distance and also allows companies to continually educate and train their teams.

Speed Limiters

A speed limiter limits the maximum amount of speed a truck can travel. The American Trucking Association states that trucks with a collision avoidance system should be set with a maximum speed of 70 mph.

If a truck does not have a collision avoidance system then it is recommended that the maximum speed be set at 65 mph. The majority of trucks have both a collision avoidance system and are set at 65 mph.

This means that even on roads that have a speed limit of 70 mph or more, semi trucks can not reach those speeds. This can be frustrating to car drivers that live in states with higher speed limits but speed limiters are an excellent safety feature.

Interior and Exterior Cameras

The majority of trucking companies have cameras on both the inside and outside of the cab. This is in the event of an accident or if a sensor goes off the company can review the camera footage. Once the footage has been reviewed they will discuss what they have found with the truck driver.

Interior cameras face the driver and many times can see the cab of the truck in its entirety. The exterior cameras face outward to see the angle that the driver sees. These cameras allow companies to continually educate drivers on how to handle situations and deter distracted driving.

These cameras are also in place to provide video evidence in the event of a crash. This is an excellent tool to use during training but is also valuable when a claim has been made against a company and driver.

Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers That Can Help

If you or a loved one are a victim involved in an accident and believe you have a truck accident case, the attorneys at Strickland & Kendall, LLC can help. Navigating the process of a personal injury claim and negotiating with insurance companies can be stressful. Hiring a professional truck accident attorney can alleviate that stress.

We are available 24/7, 7 days a week. Give our truck accident attorneys a call at (800) 874-3528 for a free consultation today!