When a car rear-ends a stopped truck, a trucker is potentially negligent

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Trucking Accident lawyer  since 1982. My Website is a leading informational portal for every kind of vehicular accident.

Recently, our firm handled a serious case where the driver of an RV rear-ended a truck parked  alongside  a dark,  rural road in the early morning hours. The driver of the RV was killed immediately and we represented the passenger of the RV, who was knocked out and had memory of the accident.

The passenger had serious injuries and was hospitalized for over a month.

The RV driver had $250,000 of insurance coverage which was tendered shortly after our demand.

End of case, right? We recovered from decedent’s insurance his entire policy limit, and since the truck driver was stopped, there appeared at first glance to be no liability of the Trucking Company.

The California Highway Patrol had taken photos at the accident scene and after intense review, we noticed something the patrolmen did not. They had cited the decedent as the sole cause of the accident but the photo’s clearly showed the area was very dark and the truck did not appear to be marked well. Further,the truck  was parked very very close to the roadway and we wondered if that was within the standard of care of an experienced truck driver and whether there were Regulations promulgated by The Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration (FMCSA)  or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  (Organizations that govern safe operation of trucks) that might apply to the truck markings to make them more visible. This is known as conspicuity.

We discovered that there were many conspicuity regulations the truck was in violation of. The reason for these rules is that long experience shows that properly marked and illumed trucks can be seen on the road even in the darkest conditions. Furthermore, consultation with a trucking expert revealed that the truck was indeed parked too closely to the roadway. If the truck had been properly illuminated and marked and parked where it should have been, there’s an excellent chance this accident might have been avoided.

California is a comparative negligence state. That means that everyone involved in an accident is charged proportionately for their degree of negligence in causing the accident.

As a result of our investigation, we believed that the trucking company was comparatively negligent and did not properly train its driver as to the danger of parking adjacent to rural roads. Further, the truck was not correctly marked with the safety tape, marking, lights and other requirements set forth above.

Suit was filed and we ultimately obtained a settlement of $425,000 from the trucking company.

The moral is that every personal injury attorney who handles trucking cases should not immediately assume there’s no liability simply because someone ran into a truck from the rear.

Trucking cases are difficult and costly to prosecute successfully. My firm handles serious truck accident cases throughout California. I’ll be writing about many other ways trucking companies may be responsible for preventable accidents in the near future. Stay tuned.


I’m Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer Ed Smith. I can be reached at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento. Elsewhere in the state call me at 800-404-5400.

My Website is www.AutoAccident.com and you can find out more about my firm on Yelp or AVVO.

Always available for free, friendly advice.



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