Hit by a Truck from Behind
With millions of cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles on our nation’s highways at any time of the day or evening, accidents are all too prevalent. Anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents each year. Unfortunately, 3,900 fatalities occurred from accidents involving heavy trucks in 2012, representing about 7% of all fatalities. Nevertheless, trucking accidents often result in serious injuries. About 104,000 people suffered injuries in large truck accidents in 2012 or roughly 285 injuries per day.
One of the more common types of motor vehicle accidents are rear end accidents. Studies of motor vehicle accidents indicate that as many as 40% of all vehicle accidents are rear-end collisions. Being rear-ended by an 80,000-pound truck can cause your vehicle to veer wildly out of control or into another vehicle or roadway barrier or cause a devastating crushing impact. In some of these accidents, the car’s occupants or those of another involved vehicle are lucky enough to escape relatively unscathed, but for many others the injuries can be catastrophic or fatal.
Injuries from a Rear-End Accident
There are certain forces or physics at work in a rear-end accident. Foremost is that the passenger car occupants are usually unaware of the impending collision and the driver is unable to take evasive action, if available, and no one is bracing for the collision. Since many rear-end accidents happen to vehicles that are at a complete stop or are behind other vehicles, there is not much the driver can do.
If it is a large truck, it may not make much difference since a crushing type collision may occur.
Nearly 85% of all motor vehicle accidents result in neck injuries from rear-end collisions. Even a collision at a speed as low as 8 miles per hour can produce a 2 g force acceleration of the impacted car and a 5 g force within 4 seconds of impact. One g force equals an acceleration of 32 feet per second. The dynamics contributing to a rear-end collision injury will be more dramatic if your car is struck from behind by an 80,000 pound truck.
A whiplash is a stretching or tearing of your neck muscles, ligaments and other soft tissue from a high-speed flexion and extension of your neck and back. On impact, your neck and back will first go backwards and then be thrown violently forward.
If you “only” suffered a neck injury, it can still significantly impair your life, causing severe pain, limited motion, nausea, sleeplessness and mood changes. Moreover, its effects can last forever. A disk injury, which is more likely from a rear-end truck collision, may produce numbness, radiating pain down your arms, limit the movement of your head from side-to-side, and severe headaches. Though most victims recover within a few months, about 20% have symptoms for years.
Causes of a Rear-End Collision
The winter months in Massachusetts are ripe for auto and truck accidents in the snow. Ice road truck accidents are not uncommon with truckers traveling too fast for the road conditions and unable to stop in time. Trucks require as much as 100 yards to come to a complete stop under normal conditions.
Other causes are inattention, distracted driving from cell phone or radio use, intoxication or drugs and driver fatigue, substantially increasing the perception-reaction-stopping time.
Although most insurers will assume the vehicle that struck a vehicle in front of it was solely at fault, it is not always the case. Motorists have been known to suddenly stop on a roadway, not giving the trucker or other motorist much time to stop. Other cars may suddenly slow, but a truck driver must maintain a safe distance behind any vehicle.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will not assume that any accident cause is already determined. By obtaining evidence from the truck driver’s logs, automatic on-board recording device, if any, and by examining the motor carrier’s hiring, training and drug testing policies, proof of liability may be confirmed and damages may be increased in some cases.
Retain Massachusetts Truck Accident Lawyer Neil Burns
If you or a loved one were injured in a rear-end truck accident or in any other trucking collision, do not assume that liability is established and that you will recover the maximum compensation without legal representation. Studies confirm that accident victims recover substantially more compensation when represented by an attorney, even considering the legal fees deducted from the settlement or recovery.
Trust your claim to Neil Burns, a Massachusetts truck crash lawyer with a proven record of success in handling these types of claims.