Who’s Liable If I Hit a Truck Because They Stopped Too Fast?

By Chris Dixon


If you hit a truck because they stopped too fast, it can be easy to assume that you are liable for the accident, but this isn’t always the case. Most rear-end crashes are caused by the rear vehicle, but if the non-rear driver acted negligently, they could be liable for damages. An experienced lawyer can protect the details of the accident, assess the options available to your case, and ensure that you and your family are taken care of during this trying time.

Is Liability Automatic in a Rear-End Truck Accident?

If you hit a truck because they stopped too fast, liability isn’t automatic. For the truck driver to be liable, they must have acted negligently. Commercial truck drivers are required to follow federal commercial vehicle regulations when operating a truck, which includes proper use of signals, taking precautions to come to a complete stop, not driving when fatigued, and more. If there is evidence from the accident that proves that the truck driver acted negligently and caused the crash, they could be liable for your damages caused in the accident.

Motor vehicle collisions happen every day, generally because of distracted driving, speeding, and other negligent behaviors. In 2015, approximately 2,101,000 accidents were caused by rear-end collisions. While the rear vehicle in a crash is typically liable for the collision, the driver that was hit can be at fault in some situations if they:

  • Reversed into the car behind them
  • Didn’t have the right-away, turned, and a car hit them
  • Have broken brake lights
  • Are under the influence and not paying attention to other drivers around them
  • Are experiencing problems with their vehicle and fail to put their emergency signals on and this causes a crash

Should You Settle a Rear-End Truck Accident Case or Go to Court?

If a truck driver stopped too fast and you hit them, you could be eligible to recover damages from the crash. Whether the truck driver is at fault, you are liable and the crash happened in an at-fault state that follows comparative negligence, or if it happened in a no-fault state, you could be eligible to recover compensation. Each of these situations is different, but the process for recovering damages is the same. You should call the police, get examined by a physician, collect evidence, and consult an attorney immediately. The eligibility of a case can vary significantly from one to the next, but your lawyer can assess your situation, explain your rights, help you file an insurance claim, and negotiate with the truck driver’s insurer for an acceptable settlement.

While there is always the option of taking your case to trial, this can be expensive, take months to settle, and doesn’t guarantee that you’ll recover a higher settlement. In most rear-end accidents the rear vehicle will almost always be considered partially at fault. All drivers have a duty to be aware of their surroundings and other drivers on the road. The most common defenses that the court will use are that you likely didn’t have the required amount of space between vehicles, weren’t paying attention to the road, violated your duty to look ahead for potential hazards and stop quickly, or you acted negligently in another way that prevented you from avoiding the accident.

Consult a Truck Accident Attorney About Your Case Today

If you are in a rear-end truck accident, the best advice is to gather as much evidence as you can and speak with an attorney immediately. If evidence isn’t collected promptly or you delay consulting a lawyer about the crash, you risk details of the accident being lost or fault being shifted. If you are ready to speak to a lawyer about your truck accident claim, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today. Our attorneys offer free consultations, have helped countless victims with their cases, and are dedicated to recovering the most damages possible for our clients.

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