When a passenger vehicle is involved in a wide-turn truck accident, the damage to the passenger vehicle is often extensive and the occupants of the vehicle often suffer catastrophic injuries, particularly if the passenger vehicle gets caught beneath the truck’s trailer. If a wide turn causes a head-on collision from the truck veering into oncoming traffic, an accident can result in tragic fatalities. Unfortunately, any time a large commercial truck is turning at a busy intersection or traveling in an urban area where the turn lanes are narrow, and there is limited space for the vehicle to maneuver, these accidents are surprisingly common. If a motorist is seriously injured or killed in a wide-turn truck accident, a skilled truck accident lawyer will assist the victim, or the victim’s family, with the claims process and secure the financial settlement he or she deserves.
What are the Different Types of Wide-Turn Truck Accidents?
Owing to the massive size of the average commercial truck, turns can be very difficult to navigate, particularly when driving through city streets and local intersections. Large trucks do not have the same turning radius as the average passenger vehicle, so when a truck driver needs to make a right turn, he or she often needs to do so from the far left lane. In some cases, a large truck will need to swing into an oncoming lane of traffic in order to complete the turn. Truck drivers are trained to know how to safely navigate these types of turns without hitting another vehicle. However, if a truck driver makes a mistake when making a turn, it can cause a serious accident. The following are common types of wide-turn accidents:
- Swinging too far to the left: Mastering a wide turn takes experience. Although all truck drivers understand that they must swing left to make a right turn, only an experienced driver knows exactly how far left he or she needs to go. Oftentimes, a truck driver will overcompensate and take a turn too wide, which increases the risk of colliding with other vehicles in the vicinity.
- Not swinging wide enough: When a truck driver attempts to negotiate too tight of a turn by failing to swing wide enough, the truck can run over a curb or sidewalk, or veer into a bike lane. If there are pedestrians or bicyclists in the vicinity, this can cause a devastating accident. In addition, if the truck driver takes the turn too tight, there is an increased risk of the truck tipping over. If this happens in a busy urban area or at a busy intersection, the truck can crush nearby vehicles and cause devastating injuries and fatalities.
- Failing to warn drivers of the intent to turn: Today’s large trucks have warnings on the back of the trailers that warn other motorists in the vicinity that they intend to make a wide turn. This tells motorists that they need to slow down, move out of the truck’s blind spot, and give the truck driver plenty of room to make the turn.
Why Do Wide-Turn Truck Accidents Occur?
According to the opens in a new windowFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)opens WORD file , large commercial trucks require approximately 55 feet of space in order to safely complete a turn, and truck drivers are required to signal 100 feet before making a turn. In addition, owing to their high center of gravity, large trucks must maneuver these turns at a safe speed, or they run the risk of tipping over if the truck is going too fast when making a sharp turn. There are a range of factors that can cause a wide-turn accident. In most cases, the truck driver is somewhat responsible for the accident, although there are a number of other parties who may also be liable, including the truck company and the truck manufacturer. This type of accident can also occur if a motorist in the vicinity is distracted or not paying attention and fails to notice the truck driver signaling his or her intention to make a turn. The following factors can significantly increase the risk of a wide-turn truck accident:
- Driver inexperience: Truck drivers are required to complete extensive training before obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, new truck drivers lack the experience necessary to successfully navigate wide turns, which can make them more likely to make a mistake.
- Distracted driving: When completing a wide turn, truck drivers must keep their attention focused on the task at hand. That means checking all blind spots, watching for oncoming traffic, and ensuring that they complete the turn safely and effectively. Becoming distracted by a phone call, a text, or anything else that takes the truck driver’s attention away from the process of completing the turn can increase the risk of a serious accident.
- Drunk driving: Driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous under any circumstances, but it can be deadly when operating a massive commercial truck. Alcohol impairs a driver’s coordination and his or her ability to concentrate, to make quick decisions, and to react quickly to other motorists who enter the truck’s blind spot. Drunk driving can impair a truck driver’s ability to safely navigate and complete a wide turn.
- Failure to check the truck’s blind spots: Large commercial trucks have significant blind spots on all four sides of the rig, particularly on the right side. If a truck driver fails to check all blind spots before attempting the turn and a passenger vehicle appears alongside the truck, this can result in a wide-turn accident.
- Failure to use the appropriate turn signals: If the truck driver fails to warn other drivers of his or her intent to make a wide turn, the motorists in the vicinity may be unaware that the truck is turning and be unable to avoid a collision.
- Lack of adequate training: All commercial truck drivers are required to complete a comprehensive training program, which includes learning how to safely navigate wide turns. Trucking companies have a responsibility to provide this training and ensure that each driver completes the program before he or she is allowed to get behind the wheel of a large truck. If a truck driver did not receive the proper training and causes a wide-turn accident, the driver and the trucking company may be held liable for the accident and any resulting injuries.
- Backing up to complete a turn: If a truck driver attempts to make a wide turn and realizes that they cannot complete the turn, the driver may need to back up and try again. If they fail to make sure there are no other motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists in the vicinity before backing up, it can cause a serious accident.
Who is Liable for a Wide-Turn Accident?
There are a number of parties that may be liable for a truck accident, including the truck driver, the truck company, the manufacturing company, and the loading company. However, when it comes to wide-turn accidents, it is usually caused by some type of driver error. Making a wide turn requires the truck driver to pay close attention to other motorists in the vicinity, use the appropriate turn signals, check all blind spots, and use extreme caution while making the turn. Common wide-turn errors include the following:
- Failing to slow down enough
- Making too wide of a turn
- Failing to check all of the truck’s blind spots
- Failing to signal while turning
Many of these common errors are more likely to occur if the truck driver is speeding, distracted, or driving recklessly. A skilled truck accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation and determine who is responsible for causing the accident.
What Damages May I Receive in a Wide-Turn Truck Accident Claim?
There is no question that truck accidents, including wide-turn accidents, are some of the most devastating accidents, and it is usually the occupants of the passenger vehicles who suffer the most severe, often fatal injuries. If it is determined that the truck driver made a negligent wide turn, the injured victim may seek financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver or the truck company. The victim may be eligible for the following damages:
- All medical expenses associated with the injury
- Lost wages if the injured victim is unable to return to work
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Wrongful death if the accident resulted in fatalities
Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers at ACTS Law Advocate for Victims of Wide-Turn Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a wide-turn truck accident, you are urged to contact the Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at ACTS Law at your earliest convenience. We will investigate the events leading up to the accident, determine all liable parties that are responsible for causing the accident, and walk you through every step of the claims process. If the driver made a negligent wide turn, we will protect your legal rights and fight to ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAWopens phone dialer or contact us online. With offices located in Los Angeles and San Diego, we serve clients throughout Southern California.