According to recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 800,000 motor vehicle crashes involving blind spots occur annually across the country. Of those 800,000 accidents, around 300 include fatalities. Many of these crashes happen when a truck driver fails to notice another vehicle in the truck’s blind spot.
Why blind spots cause many truck accidents. Although many blind spot accidents occur when truck drivers fail to use their side view mirrors regularly, truck drivers routinely deal with many other blind spots than just the sides of the truck. Drivers should have proper blind spot training to address this accident risk.
When drivers negligently fail to check or acknowledge their blind spots while driving, they may cause serious accidents that injure others. In fact, when a large and heavy tractor-trailer, big rig, or 18-wheeler strikes a much smaller passenger vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle will likely suffer more severe injuries.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a recent truck accident, you should retain a knowledgeable Edmonton truck accident lawyer to represent you in your case as soon as possible. Your lawyer can discuss the circumstances of your truck accident with you and determine if you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for monetary compensation.
If so, your lawyer can help you file a claim with the appropriate insurer, negotiate with the settlement adjuster handling your claim, and pursue favourable monetary compensation. Alternatively, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit in court and take your case to a jury trial or alternative dispute resolution proceeding.
Truck Blind Spots at Traffic Intersections
Traffic intersections can be dangerous places when it comes to truck blind spots. In some instances, cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers on the right-hand side of a truck that’s preparing to turn right are in danger. That is because these individuals are likely in the truck driver’s blind spot, and consequently, the truck driver cannot see them.
When the truck eventually makes a right-hand turn, it may forcefully strike the car, cyclist, or pedestrian, causing them to suffer various injuries. Although product engineers are devising turn-assist products for tractor-trailer operators, no such system is available now.
Traffic intersections also frequently have crosswalks. When a truck driver executes a turn, they must be sure that no cyclists or pedestrians are present in the crosswalk. Moreover, drivers must ensure that no vehicles are present in an adjacent lane when they make a turn at a traffic intersection.
Finally, many large trucks have blind spots in the front. Therefore, truck drivers must ensure that no pedestrians or smaller vehicles are in front of them at the intersection after stopping at a stop sign or red light.
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Traffic in Front of a Large Truck
Many large trucks and tractor-trailers have large blind spots at the front of their vehicle. In fact, many big rigs have blind spots that extend out more than 20 feet.
Some truck drivers also rush to arrive at their final destination. This is often because trucking companies incentivize them to deliver their cargo early. However, when a truck driver speeds and tailgates a smaller vehicle, the driver increases their chances of causing an accident. It can be especially difficult for truck drivers to even see smaller vehicles in front of them, and if traffic backs up quickly, the truck may cause a forceful rear-end collision with the front vehicle.
Changing Travel Lanes
When truck drivers switch lanes while travelling, they must be cautious about using the appropriate turn signals. Moreover, truck drivers and trucking companies must ensure that their turn signals work correctly before setting out on a long journey.
When trucks change lanes, they may be unable to see oncoming vehicles in the lane they enter. This is because the oncoming vehicle may be travelling in the truck’s blind spot. When truck drivers fail to exercise extreme caution while changing lanes, they significantly increase their chances of causing an accident, no matter how big the truck’s side view mirrors are.
Driving in Reverse
Whenever large trucks back up, drivers need to be especially careful. Most large trucks have substantial blind spots at the back of the trailer. Consequently, drivers often have difficulty observing pedestrians, cyclists, and smaller vehicles in the rear. Since many tractor-trailers do not have rear-view cameras on board, drivers may cause a severe collision when they fail to exercise reasonable care.
Fatigued Truck Driving
To get their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule, many truck drivers operate their vehicles while fatigued. Some drivers even resort to stimulants to keep themselves awake for long hours. However, in actuality, these drugs often make truck drivers sleepy and less attentive to the road. When truck drivers operate their vehicles while fatigued, they may lack concentration and fail to check their blind spots. They may also exercise an extreme lack of caution while operating their vehicles. As a result, severe accidents and injuries may occur.
Distracted Truck Operation
Commercial truck drivers owe other drivers a very high duty of care. Specifically, they have a responsibility to watch the road attentively, pay attention to their surroundings, and constantly check their blind spots. However, electronic devices—like cellular phones, tablets, and GPS devices—often distract drivers from their primary duty of watching the road.
When a truck driver becomes distracted, they might look down or turn their head to the side. They may also fail to check their blind spots for other vehicles and pedestrians. As a result, they may not see another driver or pedestrian in the vicinity, causing a severe crash that leads to debilitating injuries.
When truck drivers drive while intoxicated, they significantly increase their chances of causing a collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian. While passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, commercial truck drivers must follow much stricter standards. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent and higher.
In fact, if a Breathalyzer device determines that a truck driver has any alcohol in their system, a police officer can arrest them for DUI. Moreover, if they cause an accident that leads to injuries, you can hold both them and their insurance company responsible for the resulting damages.
Intoxicated truck driving is a severe problem because alcohol significantly slows down a driver’s nervous system. In many instances, alcohol intoxication causes physical symptoms like blurred vision. At other times, truck drivers may experience limited concentration and delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
Moreover, when truck drivers are under the influence, they may forget to check their blind spots, or they may speed in a reckless and careless manner, causing a crash.
Common Injuries in Truck Blind Spot Accidents
When truck drivers fail to exercise caution and do not check their blind spots, they may cause serious accidents that, in turn, lead to debilitating injuries. The injuries that a truck accident victim may suffer will depend upon various factors, including the force of the collision and the way their body moves in the vehicle during the crash.
In some instances, the collision force is so great that it causes an accident victim’s head, elbows, knees, or other body parts to strike something in the vehicle. For example, an accident victim’s head may strike the headrest, window, or steering wheel in a forceful collision, causing a traumatic head or brain injury.
The sheer force of a truck collision can bring about several debilitating injuries, which may cause an accident victim to undergo ongoing medical treatment and physical therapy. Accident victims may also need to undergo one or more surgical procedures, depending upon the severity of their injuries.
Common injuries that truck accident victims suffer include traumatic head and brain damage, soft tissue contusions, fractures, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, cuts and bruises, road rash, paralysis, and even death.
Following your truck accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment at an emergency care facility. In addition to physically examining you, the responding medical provider can order imaging studies, including MRIs, X-rays, and brain scans, to ascertain your medical condition and determine if you need additional treatment. In some cases, the responding provider may recommend that you follow up with your primary care doctor if you have one. Also, you may need to seek treatment from a neurologist, orthopedic doctor, or another medical specialist, if your symptoms get worse.
While you focus your attention on making a full recovery, a truck accident lawyer in your area can start advocating for you. Your lawyer can begin gathering up your medical reports, lost earnings statements from your employer, photographs of your injuries, pictures of property damage, and other potential evidence to use in your case. Once you complete your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit a settlement demand letter—along with your complete settlement demand package—to the insurance company adjuster handling settlement negotiations.
Potential Damages in a Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Truck accident victims sometimes need to miss work time to attend medical appointments and fully recover from their injuries. Moreover, they may experience ongoing pain and other symptoms—especially if they suffer a permanent injury. To determine that your injury is permanent, a medical provider must state on the record, and to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your injury is unlikely to improve over time. In some instances, individuals who suffer permanent complications experience pain and suffering every day for the rest of their lives.
The monetary damages that a truck accident victim can recover will depend upon the force of the collision, the severity of their injuries, and the extent of their pain and suffering.
Some of the most common damages the truck accident victims may recover include monetary compensation for lost wages if they had to miss time from work after their accident. Moreover, if the accident victim had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to their injuries, they may be eligible to pursue a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Truck accident victims can also recover compensation for their past and future pain and suffering. Past pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for everything they endured between the date of their accident and the current time. Future pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for their pain and symptoms going forward.
Truck accident victims can also recover compensation for their lost quality of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, permanent disfigurement, scarring, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can aggressively fight for your right to recover the damages you deserve in your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can do this by highlighting the strengths of your personal injury claim while downplaying any weaknesses, such as pre-existing injuries.
Filing a Claim for Damages
A truck accident lawyer in your area can help you prove the legal elements of your claim so that you can recover favourable compensation for your injuries.
Specifically, you will need to establish the following legal elements:
- That a truck driver acted negligently by failing to check their blind spots carefully
- That the truck driver’s negligent actions or inactions caused your accident
- That you suffered at least one injury in your accident
- That the accident was at least one cause of the injury or injuries you suffered
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer to Represent You Today
If you suffered injuries in a recent truck accident where a negligent driver failed to watch their blind spots, you have legal options available to you. As soon as you complete your medical treatment, you should retain a knowledgeable Edmonton personal injury lawyer in your area to represent you throughout your case.
In some instances, truck drivers and trucking company insurers dispute fault for accidents. If that happens in your case, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist to help you prove your case.
In addition, your lawyer can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company, negotiate a favourable settlement on your behalf, or litigate your case to a conclusion in court. In any event, your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a particular settlement offer or file a lawsuit and litigate your case to an efficient resolution in court.