On the surface, vehicle accident law in Ohio seems fairly straightforward. The driver in the back is at fault in most rear-end accidents. However, this isn’t always the case, and commercial trucking accidents tend to be complex.
Truck accidents, in general, tend to be more severe than other types of vehicle accidents. Severe injury and death are common in rear-end truck accidents, particularly those on interstates and highways where high speeds may compound the damage.
Comparative Fault Rule in Ohio
Ohio operates under a modified comparative fault rule when it comes to vehicle accidents. The facts surrounding an accident may affect which driver is ultimately most responsible. Contributing factors often reveal that a mishap isn’t as clear-cut as it first seems.
If the driver who was not at fault engaged in activities that contributed to the accident, he or she may be partly responsible. Under Ohio law, any person who is more than 50% liable for an accident won’t be able to secure damages in a lawsuit.
The Rear Vehicle Causes the Accident
Every driver on the road is responsible for maintaining a safe distance between vehicles, which is why the rear vehicle is typically at fault in a rear-ending accident. This holds true whether the vehicle is a car or a truck. Accidents in which a truck rear-ends a vehicle tend to be less severe (cause fewer fatalities) than if another vehicle rear-ends a truck.
The Leading Vehicle Causes the Accident
In some cases, the courts will decide that the leading vehicle was to blame for the accident. If a vehicle stops in the middle of the road for no discernable reason, the lead driver may be to blame.
Alternatively, a leading vehicle that fails to use the required lighting for night driving may also be at fault in an accident. A truck driver who failed to maintain his or her vehicle or who was guilty of negligent driving behaviors may be partly to blame, even if he or she didn’t cause the accident.
Truckers and other commercial operators are professional drivers. They control heavy vehicles on the roads for a living. Because of their status as professionals, the courts may look at the circumstances surrounding a case and determine a truck driver to be at fault. If a professional driver should have reasonably been able to avoid the accident, he or she may be to blame, regardless of which vehicle was in front.
Other Contributing Factors
Other factors that may change the outcome of a rear-ending case may be faulty or malfunctioning parts, including brakes and lights, driving under the influence, or road/weather hazards. Each case is different and must be evaluated separately to determine fault.
When it comes to commercial truck rear-end accidents, the case may not be as straightforward as you think. When it comes to determining fault in such accidents and other vehicle collisions, the truck accident lawyers at Erney Law can help you evaluate your case. Reach out to our firm for more information.