Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Who is Liable in a Rear End Accident?

Who is liable for a commercial vehicle settlement when a semi-truck, bus, or other large vehicle rear-ends another vehicle? How common are rear-end accidents in Kansas and the United States? Commercial truck drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists that includes leaving sufficient distance between their large truck and traffic in front of the vehicle. When they fail to maintain this distance, they can be liable for the injuries, property damage, and wrongful deaths that occur. More importantly, the employer and motor carrier can be responsible for negligent hiring, negligent training, negligent supervision, and negligent retention. In Kansas, these are all separate and distinct causes of action against the motor carrier that helps to get more compensation for your injuries.

The number of people injured in large vehicle collisions has risen sharply over the past few years. In 2015, 138,000 people suffered injuries in large vehicle accidents. By 2016, that number skyrocketed to 180,000. In 2016, data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that 4,079 semi-trucks and other large vehicles were involved in fatal accidents that caused 4,564 fatalities. Of these, 762 were the drivers or occupants of the large vehicle, while the remainder includes drivers and passengers of other cars and trucks as well as pedestrians. Kansas, like many other states has truck accidents and auto accidents or motorcycle accidents that continue to increase due to distracted driving and cell phone use, texting while driving, and the use of mapping on cell phones.

Critical events are those identified by the NHTSA as the primary cause of the accident. In approximately 22% of all large truck accidents, rear-ending is the critical event that caused the accident. Rear-ending can be caused by a number of factors including following too closely, traveling too fast for traffic or weather conditions, or the failure of brake systems. Personally, I believe that the rear end crashes are due to distracted drivers looking down at phones and maps on phones.

Many motorists and pedestrians mistakenly believe that if they are in front of a semi-truck that the driver can always see them. The reality is that there is a blind spot which extends approximately 20 feet in front of the vehicle. For this reason, commercial drivers are required to remain cognizant of all movements into and within this region and reduce their speed when vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists pass through the blind spot. This is particularly important on heavily congested roads and while traveling at highway speeds. The problem with big trucks is that the drivers routinely change lanes without warning and when a car is in their blind spot the truck driver injures or kills the driver and passengers in many cases.

In 2016, 1,830 tractor trailers, 201 school buses, 70 transit buses, and 31 other types of buses were involved in accidents in Kansas. In total, 3,195 large vehicles were involved in accidents that caused 74 fatalities and 934 injuries. Fortunately, 2,446 accidents resulted in only property damage. Kansas is unique in having very conservative laws with caps on damages and caps on pain and suffering, That is why you need to hire an attorney, lawyer or abogado immediately after you have an accident and are injured.

8% of all vehicular accidents in Kansas in 2016 were the result of following too closely, while 6% were the result of driving too fast for conditions. In total, there were 13,741 rear-end collisions in Kansas throughout 2016 which made it the most common type of vehicle-vehicle collision in the state.

When a commercial vehicle driver rear-ends another vehicle, they can be held liable for their negligence in a commercial vehicle settlement. Liability can fall upon the driver, their employer, or the mechanic that last serviced critical components including brakes, tires, transmission, etc. Drivers and employers may also be liable for hours-of-service violations which led to drowsy driving, the use of cell phones while operating a semi-truck, or for other safety violations or behaviors that contributed to causing a rear-end collision. Violation of the FMCSR is a routine problem with big trucks and truck drivers.

Brad Pistotnik Law represents clients in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois who are injured in large truck accidents. Whether it was a commercial vehicle truck accident in Dodge City, Lawrence, Colby, Hays, Great Bend, Garden City, Liberal, Wichita, Derby, Newton, McPherson, Hutchinson, Yates Center, Wamego, Goodland, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Guymon, Kearney, Omaha, Manhattan, Junction City, Kingman, Pratt, Decatur, Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Springfield, Dallas, Orlando, Vero Beach, Naples, Tampa, Panama City, Ybor City, Amarillo, Lubbock, Laredo, Ft. Worth, Salina, Bonner Springs, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, Manhattan, Wellington, Topeka, or elsewhere in these states, our team works to secure a commercial vehicle settlement and the compensation our clients need to recover from their injuries.

We are Brad Pistotnik Law. ® We are Abogado El Toro. ® Hire the real Brad. ® Call in the Bull. ® We are the Bull Attorneys! ™ Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL. Our main office location is at 10111 E. 21st St. N., Suite 204, Wichita Kansas 67206. Our Garden City office is at 3102 E. Kansas Avenue, Suite 100, Garden City, Kansas. We always give free consultations and we answer the phone 24/7 and on weekends and holidays for free legal consultation.