What You Need to Know about Rear-End Tractor-Trailer Accidents

semi truck driving on highway next to passenger vehicle
October 30, 2018
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

Motor vehicle accidents that involve tractor-trailers often result in fatalities because a normal size vehicle can be completely demolished upon impact. Drivers and passengers who survive these types of crashes frequently have serious injuries and a lengthy process of recovery – though some may never recover fully. Tractor-trailer crash victims typically suffer injuries like bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and psychological trauma. These injuries can have long-lasting effects on survivors and their families.

If you have survived a crash with a tractor-trailer in which you suffered injuries, it’s important that you seek the help of an experienced accident attorney in Philadelphia like Rand Spear to help you with your case. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering and a lawyer can help you get the settlement you deserve.

What Causes Rear-End Accidents?

There is always some type of delay between the time drivers notice stopped traffic ahead of them and when their brain processes the information and they act. For example, a car that is going 55 mph will typically travel about 60 feet as the driver processes the visual information, apply the brakes, and finally come to a stop about 225 feet from where they first noticed they needed to stop. Similarly, a tractor-trailer will not come to a complete stop for 335 feet in the same situation. And, at 65 mph, it takes a tractor-trailer 525 feet to stop.

Even under the best circumstances, the distance that it takes tractor-trailers to stop is a huge factor in tractor-trailer rear-end accidents. The trucks may simply not have enough time to stop. However, the situation can be much more devastating when the following conditions are also present:

  • Tailgating, or following other vehicles too closely
  • Distractions, like using a cell phone or eating while driving
  • Speeding
  • Excessive or shifting weight of the load
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Faulty brakes or worn tires
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Inexperienced truck driver

Jackknife Accidents

Another type of accident in which tractor-trailers hit other vehicles from behind is when it jackknifes. Jackknifing is when the truck’s tires lose traction and the trailer swings forward. These types of accidents can be caused by slick roads, inexperience, unsecured or unbalanced loads, or, most commonly, sudden braking.

Jackknife accidents are especially dangerous because when it happens, the trailer may swing across several lanes of traffic, hitting cars traveling in both directions.

Accidents Involving Tractor-Trailers are Much Different Than Car Accidents

Getting into an accident, rear-end or otherwise, with a tractor-trailer is much different than when two or more cars collide. One of the biggest differences between trucking accidents and car accidents is the injuries in tractor-trailer accidents tend to be significantly more extensive. A typical car weighs about 3,000 pounds, while a tractor-trailer can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds, depending on the load. Consequently, drivers and passengers of cars that are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer are nearly always serious.

Another key difference is that tractor-trailers are typically operated by people who have specialized training or formalized instruction. They usually have a special license to drive commercial trucks and have been to some type of truck driving school. That means that when a tractor-trailer driver is responsible for an accident because he or she didn’t receive enough training, the trucking company that he or she works for may also be found negligent for lack of training. You will not find that happening with inexperienced car drivers.

You Need a Truck Accident Attorney for Your Tractor-Trailer Accident

Accidents involving tractor-trailers or other big trucks are often more complicated because they typically involve more extensive injuries and property damages than other types of motor vehicle accidents. Because of the complexities of making recoveries from those who are responsible in big truck accidents, seeking legal help from a truck accident attorney is usually warranted, and always in your best interest.

If you have been injured in a rear-end tractor-trailer accident, Philadelphia’s truck accident lawyer, Rand Spear, can help you with your case. Contact the law office of Rand Spear at 215-985-2424 for a free evaluation of your case.

Media Contact:

Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney Rand Spear

(T): 215-985-2424


Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved. This article is not to be considered advise, only the execution of the contingency agreement with this law firm will constitute an attorney-client relationship. The contents of this article are for general information only. If you would like to pursue a claim, please contact an attorney immediately to discuss your specific facts and circumstances regarding your claim. Some cases accepted by this law firm may be referred to or worked on by other lawyers, depending on the area of practice and specifics of a particular case.