Bagen Law Firm | February 24, 2023 | Truck Accidents
Blind spot accidents are among the most common types of truck accidents. Common does not mean less severe. Anytime you are involved in an accident with such a large vehicle, you may suffer serious injuries. Even if the front of the truck does not strike you, you can still suffer life-changing consequences from the accident. Regardless of the extent of your injuries, you are legally entitled to full financial compensation when the truck driver was at fault for the accident.
First, you should hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to represent you as you seek the money you deserve. As soon as you get medical help, your next step should be getting legal help. Never speak with trucking companies or their insurance representatives without having a lawyer. These parties know how to take advantage of injured accident victims without representation.
Protect your financial future and legal rights with the right attorney’s help. Your lawyer might need to notify the trucking company immediately to ensure the company does not spoil any evidence. This is only one reason why you should consult with a law firm right after a blind spot accident.
Truck Drivers Struggle to See Into Their Blind Spots
Passenger car drivers can testify that it is difficult to see into their blind spots. Even drivers of sedans and SUVs struggle to see their blind spots when they are making turns and changing lanes. For passenger cars, the blind spot is along the sides of the car, slightly behind the driver and the front seat passenger.
For truck drivers, the situation is much more difficult. Since the truck is much larger, there are both more blind spots and areas where the driver cannot see. A tractor-trailer can extend 70 to 80 feet from the center of the steer to the rear wheel. It is simply impossible for the truck driver to see everywhere around the truck, which is exceedingly dangerous given that many other cars are in their immediate vicinity.
Common Truck Blind Spots for Drivers
Here are where the blind spots are on a truck:
- The truck driver cannot see for up to 20 feet in front of the truck, given how high they are above other vehicles. This lack of vision is alarming because the truck driver cannot see cars directly in front of them in traffic.
- The truck driver cannot see directly behind the truck for up to 30 feet. The truck may not know a car is behind them when they stop short.
- Trucks also have a similar blind spot to passenger cars in that the driver cannot see to the left or right behind where the cab is situated.
- The truck driver also cannot see out the right side of the truck, directly opposite the cab across nearly all lanes of traffic.
Because of all these blind spots, you may wonder how a truck driver can safely operate the vehicle. It is extraordinarily difficult to drive a truck, and not everyone can do it.
Even the Most Experienced Truck Drivers Struggle with Blind Spots
It takes skill and training for the truck driver to learn how to operate the truck safely despite the blind spots. Truck drivers often need to be behind the wheel for years before they learn how to compensate for their limited ability to see. These days, the problem is that many truck drivers do not have the judgment that comes from experience.
Many truck drivers on the road are newer operators hired within the past few years to replace other drivers who retired or left the truck driving workforce. The newer drivers do not know how to factor in blind spots and account for them in their
In addition, the trucking company will also invest in technology that will help their drivers see into more areas. The drivers can have alerts when they are trying to change lanes and there is a car in their blind spot. In addition, the truck has several mirrors that help drivers see into their blind spots, especially when trying to change lanes.
How Truck Drivers Can Cause Blind Spot Accidents
Truck drivers may do many things to prevent blind spot accidents. The most important thing a truck driver can do when behind the wheel is to stay alert and focused. The truck driver needs to have their full attention on the road. It takes skill and ability to drive such a heavy vehicle, even when the truck driver is entirely focused. Driving a truck safely without the driver’s full attention is virtually impossible.
However, truck drivers are distracted behind the wheel for several reasons, including:
- They may not put down their phone when they are behind the wheel, taking their eyes off the road
- They may try to multitask by doing things like eating when they are on a long journey because they want to save time
- They may have lost focus because they can only pay the close attention necessary to drive a truck for a long time.
In addition, truck drivers may not have the sharp mental focus they need to drive the truck.
Over time, the truck driver may become fatigued for many reasons, including:
- They have violated the hours of service restrictions and are operating the truck when they should not.
- They are driving late at night to maximize the distance they can travel in their permissible hours, even though their body and mind are tired.
- They have not maintained healthy habits that can cause them to be mentally alert and sharp.
- They are taking prescription medication that makes them drowsy.
Most truckers will admit to fatigued driving at some time or another. Yet they may not take the time to rest because they may end up in trouble with their employer when they are late to make a delivery. As a result, you pay the price.
Finally, the truck driver may have been speeding while changing lanes, causing them to misjudge the distance they have to make the transition safely.
Common and Dangerous Truck Blind Spot Accidents
These factors are the prime causes of blind spot accidents.
Here are the different types of accidents that can occur in a truck driver’s blind spot:
- The most common type of blind spot accident occurs when the truck driver changes lanes. They do not see another car, and they sideswipe it. Unfortunately, because of the truck’s height, much damage occurs around the car’s roof, which doesn’t withstand an impact.
- The truck driver may also rear-end a car in front of them because they cannot see into the area directly in front of their vehicle.
- A truck driver can run another driver off the road when they change lanes and do not see a car already established in traffic. The size and force of the truck can force a driver from the roadway.
- The truck driver can run over a driver in front of them in an override accident. They may also not see a driver behind them when they stop, and the motorist can end up under the truck. Both are extremely dangerous accidents because they can shear the top of the car.
Proving Negligence in a Truck Blind Spot Accident
If you suffered an injury in an accident with a truck driver when they were changing lanes, the presumption will be that the truck driver was the negligent one. The driver who changed lanes will usually be the one who is liable for the accident. Nonetheless, you will still need proof showing what happened in the accident. You must demonstrate the truck driver’s negligence to receive financial compensation.
In any truck accident case, negligence means:
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances.
- The truck driver breached their duty by doing something the average truck driver would not have done.
- You suffered an injury.
- You would not have suffered an injury had it not been for the truck driver’s actions.
You Need an Experienced Attorney After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are much more complex than the average motor vehicle crash, and you need an attorney to represent you. Many more variables are at play, starting with the size of your potential settlement. In addition, truck accidents require much more extensive investigation. Even if you think you know what caused the accident , there is often much more to learn.
For example, your attorney may seek information about the individual truck driver who caused the crash. They may also obtain information about the truck involved in the crash to learn whether the company or driver had properly maintained it. If you can discover evidence that shows that the driver had a checkered driving history or that the trucking company was cutting corners, you can gain more leverage in settlement negotiations. The jury might order the trucking company to pay punitive damages if your case went to trial.
Truck Accident Settlements Can Exceed Those in Other Personal Injury Cases
You must also have an experienced truck accident attorney when seeking or negotiating your actual financial compensation.
Several factors can make your truck accident settlement check larger than the one you will get in any other personal injury case:
- Because the accident involves a much larger truck, you have likely suffered more severe injuries, resulting in more significant damages.
- The trucking company must have at least $750,000 in insurance coverage (and most insurance companies will not write policies for less than $1 million), so there is more money available to pay you.
- The trucking company is legally responsible for the actions of its drivers, so you can receive money from the company itself if the insurance coverage is not enough to pay for the damages.
There have been numerous instances where trucking companies have been put out of business by large jury verdicts when the companies have been reckless or intentionally disregarded rules. Your truck accident may be one of a long pattern where the trucking company’s corner-cutting has resulted in severe injuries.
Getting the Right Settlement Means Knowing How Much Your Case Is Worth
You may not even realize how much your truck accident claim may be worth. You certainly understand that the trucking company must pay for your economic damages, which include your medical bills and lost wages that you might have earned on the job. However, on your own, you may need help understanding the role that non-economic damages play in your truck accident settlement.
Your life may have been changed forever by the impacts of your truck accident injuries. You may feel pain and discomfort daily and may have lost much of the quality of life you enjoyed before the accident. You can receive payment for the pain and suffering you have endured and will continue to experience. Often, pain and suffering are a large part of your truck accident settlement. The more severe your injuries, the more money you may receive in non-economic damages. Florida does not cap non-economic damages in a truck accident lawsuit.
Your attorney will negotiate to maximize your compensation in a truck accident lawsuit. As unlikely as it may seem, you can lose money if you agree to a large settlement when your check might have been even larger. When you receive truck accident compensation, it represents money that you have actually lost and will need to pay your expenses in the future. If you accept too little, you may face financial difficulties because the money can run out before you know it.
Insurance companies and their trucking company policyholders try to play hardball in truck accident cases. For them, the alternative is writing a large check to you to cover the damages that their driver caused. You need to play hardball by hiring an experienced and aggressive truck accident attorney. With an attorney on your side, you can hold the trucking company accountable and not let the insurance company get away with the games that are part of their standard operating procedures.