Eric Clapton, Conspicuity, and Rearend Collisions
Rearend collisions aren’t always straightforward. Many motorists think that whenever a rearend collision occurs, the person in the vehicle that’s doing the hitting (the “bullet” vehicle) is at fault and the person in the vehicle being hit (the “target” vehicle) is in the right. But that’s not always true. Especially when tractor-trailers or other commercial vehicles are involved, the “target” vehicle has some legal obligations to make itself visible to other drivers. When the tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle doesn’t live up to those obligations, the trucking company can be held responsible for the injuries that it causes. The experienced lawyers at Butler Tobin know about these rules and know what to do when a tractor-trailer fails to follow them.
Trucking companies are required by law to make sure that the rearends of their trucks are “conspicuous,” or easily visible, to other drivers. For instance, tractor-trailers should have working taillights and reflective tape on their rearends. Often the law requires specific patterns or quantity of reflective tape. This principle is called “conspicuity”—such that when a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle causes a wreck by failing to follow the rules, the injured motorist may bring what is called a “conspicuity” case.
Tractor-trailers or other vehicles sometimes can also cause wrecks by stopping in the wrong place and failing to take the required precautions. There are places where a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle shouldn’t stop unless it is an emergency—for instance, on the shoulder of an interstate. Even if it is an emergency, the driver of a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle is often required to set out warning signs (such as triangular caution signs) and take other precautions to prevent other drivers from accidentally striking the truck. When tractor-trailer drivers fail to take these precautions, the trucking company can be held responsible for any injuries that the tractor-trailer causes.
Rearend collisions aren’t as simple as some people think—sometimes the “target” vehicle causes rearend wrecks by failing to comply with conspicuity rules or stopping in the wrong place without taking the required precautions. Even where the target vehicle is at fault, however, tractor-trailer companies or other defendants frequently try to blame the hurt person in the other vehicle. If you or someone you care about is hurt in such a wreck, the lawyers at Butler Tobin can send the at-fault party the Eric Clapton message for you: before you accuse me, take a look at yourself!
Our attorneys have real experience in representing individuals injured on the roads. Our attorneys visit the accident site; we know the experts; and we know the law. Contact us for a free consultation.