Operating a large semi-truck requires considerable experience, training, and careful attention. When commercial truck drivers lack experience, haven’t been properly trained, fail to follow traffic and maintenance laws, or are distracted, they may collide with vehicles in other lanes of traffic while making wide turns. Due to the massive size and heavy weight of semi-trucks, devastating and potentially fatal injuries often result when these wide-turn collisions occur.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a wide-turn truck accident in Little Rock, Arkansas, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact attorney Tim Reed with the Reed Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Why Are Wide Turns So Dangerous?
Large semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are typically about 60 feet long. They have large blind spots, and making turns can be difficult. When making right turns, semi-truck drivers often need to swing left and into other lanes of traffic.
This maneuver can create the illusion to surrounding passenger cars that the truck intends to turn left. Motorists may attempt to pass the semi-truck on the right and find themselves squeezed in between the side of the road and the tractor-trailer. Often, in these “squeeze play” or “squeeze by” situations, override or underride collisions can result.
An override or underride collision is one in which a passenger vehicle travels beneath or becomes trapped underneath the long trailer. In that situation, the passenger vehicle can be crushed. If the impact is significant enough, the top of the car can shear off, putting the passengers at a high risk of severe or fatal injuries.
Wide-Turn Truck Accidents Caused By Negligence
Unfortunately, many wide-turn truck accidents are caused by negligence. When truck drivers are not properly trained, they may not have the skills needed to avoid colliding with other vehicles while turning. Similarly, if a truck driver is tired or distracted, he or she is more likely to collide with other vehicles. Some of the most common examples of negligence we see are:
- Driver incompetence
- Driver inexperience
- Inadequate driver training
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Reckless driving
- Not slowing down in time to safely complete the turn
- Failure to check lanes before turning
- Not properly watching surroundings using windows and mirrors
- Unfamiliarity with roads
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Truck Accidents Caused By Improper Truck Maintenance
Accidents are also more likely to occur when a semi-truck does not have functioning mirrors, brake lights, turn signals, and tail lights. For example, when a truck’s lights aren’t working correctly, truck drivers are more likely to cause an accident while making a wide turn. That’s why truck drivers are required by law to inspect their semi-trucks before driving. Similarly, improper loading and securing of cargo onto a tractor-trailer can result in wide-turn accidents.
What Can You Do to Help Prevent Wide-Turn Accidents?
There are several things that motorists can do to avoid being in a wide-turn accident:
- Stay out of an 18-wheeler’s blind spot on both sides of the trailer.
- Stay a safe distance behind the truck – typically at least 5 full car lengths.
- Only pass an 18-wheeler when there is plenty of room to get around and try to avoid passing one on the right.
- When an 18-wheeler slows down to make a turn, anticipate where it might be going. Even if it initially appears to be turning left, avoid pulling up alongside the truck in case the truck turns right.
Injuries Resulting from Wide-Turn Accidents
Any accident involving a semi-truck has a higher likelihood of causing catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common injuries we see include the following:
- Injuries to the spinal cord, which can cause partial or total paralysis
- Bone fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other head injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Burn injuries
Proving Liability and Obtaining Compensation
If you’ve been injured in a wide-turn truck accident, you must prove several elements to recover compensation. Specifically, you will need to prove that the defendant(s) failed to use reasonable care under the circumstances, resulting in your injuries. For example, you may be able to prove that the truck driver was overly fatigued or failed to properly maintain the tractor-trailer, resulting in a negligent turn that caused the collision and your injuries.
Whatever the cause of your truck accident, you will need an experienced, trucking attorney to evaluate the facts of your case and identify the cause(s) of your accident. Your attorney should also explore and develop proof of your injuries to ensure you can prove your case at trial. Many cases settle before trial, but having an attorney prepare your case for trial is the only way to obtain a fair result.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
The amount of damages you may obtain depends on your situation and the facts surrounding your accident. “Damages” is a legal term that includes past and future medical bills; lost wages; loss of earning capacity; pain, suffering, and mental anguish; and scars or disfigurement, to name a few.
When someone dies as a result of a truck accident, his or her family can recover compensation for the loved one’s monetary losses, as well as “loss of life,” which is the value he or she would have placed on his or her own life. Select family members can also recover for their own mental anguish after losing a loved one.
As a general rule, the more severely injured the victim is, the more compensation he or she can recover. An experienced attorney can help you develop proof of your damages to ensure you get the best result possible.
Contact a Little Rock Wide-Turn Truck Accident Attorney
Trucking companies and truck drivers are legally obligated to drive reasonably under all circumstances. When drivers negligently make wide turns and cause injury to victims, victims may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, the trucking company, and third parties in some instances. If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a wide-turn truck accident in Little Rock, or anywhere in Arkansas, attorney Tim Reed is here to help. Contact the Reed Firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights.