One of the most severe types of rear-end collisions involving a large truck and a passenger vehicle is an override accident. This means that the truck strikes the passenger vehicle from behind with so much force that it runs over the passenger vehicle. Sometimes the truck may crush the car, or it may shear the top off the car. Unfortunately, victims of these accidents may suffer devastating injuries or even death. This is especially true for people in the back seat of the car, who sustain the impact most directly.
Many override accidents result from errors by a truck driver. For example, a driver might:
Fall asleep behind the wheel, causing them to crash into the vehicle in front of them without braking at all
Get distracted, causing them to overlook the car in front of them and apply the brakes too late
Speed or leave an inadequate stopping distance behind a car, preventing the brakes from stopping the truck in time
Fail to account for poor weather and adjust their maneuvers accordingly
In other cases, an override accident might result from improper maintenance of a truck. Trucking companies must arrange for any necessary repairs to ensure that their trucks can be operated safely, and truck maintenance companies must conduct repairs competently. Meanwhile, defective brakes may cause override accidents when they malfunction unexpectedly. This may mean that the manufacturer of the brakes bears the blame for the crash.
Compensation for Override Truck Accidents
A victim in an override accident can potentially recover compensation from the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or other at-fault parties. These damages usually include compensation for medical expenses, costs of future treatment, lost income and earning capacity, and property damage. In addition, a victim can recover compensation for more subjective forms of harm, such as their pain and suffering and lost enjoyment of life.
Evidence of Damages
Documentary proof, such as medical bills and records, pay stubs, and photos
Testimony from people such as medical providers, experts, friends, and family members
Even if only the truck driver directly caused the accident, a victim may be able to hold the trucking company accountable for damages. This may be vital because the trucking company likely has significantly more insurance and resources than an individual driver to pay a settlement or judgment. To impose “vicarious liability” on the trucking company, the victim would need to show that the driver was an employee of the trucking company and was acting in the course and scope of employment when their error caused the crash.
Like other personal injury cases, truck accident lawsuits are governed by a strict statute of limitations. These time limits vary by state, but generally a victim must file a claim within a certain number of years after an accident. Otherwise, a court may dismiss their case even if it is substantively strong. Gathering evidence to prove liability for a truck accident can take time, so a victim should consult an attorney as soon as they can. Truck accident lawyers typically offer free consultations to prospective clients. They handle cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that they do not charge upfront fees for their services. Instead, they collect their fees as a percentage of any settlement or judgment obtained for a client.