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Commercial Truck Blind Spots & Avoiding Accidents

Friday, January 10th, 2020 By

commercial truck

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an organization that protects commercial truck drivers and has helped build awareness of the many dangers associated with commercial truck blind spots over the past 25 years.

The FMCSA has been vigilant in educating drivers about no-zones associated with all commercial trucks, which are a truck’s large blind spots. Commercial truck blind spots are always significantly larger than any other passenger vehicle, and the FMSCA has estimated that about one-third of all motor vehicle collisions involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles occur when a vehicle is within a commercial truck’s no-zone.

Our team is comprised of several truck accident attorneys who have helped countless accident victims in cases that involve commercial trucks, and these personal injury cases can many times be somewhat more complicated than other types of car accidents.

On this page, we’ll be discussing the exact locations of 18-wheeler blind spots, the common causes of blind spot accidents, the common associated injuries, liabilities and potential economic and non-economic damages that you may be entitled to. So if you or a loved one were involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, it’s crucial that you contact us for a free consultation so we can review the details of your accident and begin the necessary initial steps towards devising your very best legal strategy.

Where Exactly are a Commercial Truck’s Blind Spots?

There are four main blind spots associated with commercial trucks, including the following:

  • Right in front of a truck driver’s cab, and extending forward in front of the truck for about 20 feet.
  • Just behind and below the driver side window.
  • A significant portion of the right side of the truck, particularly near the truck’s front cab area. This blind spot extends diagonally and backward.
  • Just behind a truck’s trailer for about 30 feet.

These are a truck’s blind spots because it’s very difficult, if not impossible, for a commercial truck driver to see any vehicles within these areas. There is always due diligence involved for all truck drivers when it comes to checking their blind spots prior to any lane changing, turning or braking, but as we all know there are still countless accident situations in which truck drivers check their blind spots and still don’t see other nearby vehicles.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents Involving Blind Spots

There are many different circumstances that lead to truck accidents involving a truck’s blind spots, but for the most part, these accidents typically are the result of a truck driver simply not seeing a smaller passenger vehicle when conducting a variety of roadway maneuvers. Some of the most common causes of blind spot truck accidents include the following:

  • The vehicles involved in the accident following each other too closely. This can include a car tailgating a truck or vice versa.
  • Aggressive driving from the truck driver. This can include certain roadway maneuvers like stomping on the brakes to “tell” another driver to back off, or cutting a passenger vehicle off when changing lanes.
  • The overall truck driver’s failure to properly check their blind spots before any roadway maneuver.
  • Passenger vehicles simply traveling within the blind spots of a commercial truck for significant periods of time, and essentially being forgotten about or practically invisible to a truck driver.

Common Truck Accident Injuries Associated with Blind Spots

There are many instances in which a truck driver will not see a vehicle within one of their blind spots and then instigate an underride collision (2017 Underride Act), rollover accident, sideswipe accident, or potentially run a passenger vehicle off the road.

All accidents involving commercial trucks carry significantly higher risks of property damage, serious injuries and potential fatalities because of the massive overall size of larger trucks. Some of the common injuries involved with commercial truck accidents include the following:

  • One or multiple bone fractures.
  • Several types of back injuries, including herniated discs and cracked vertebrae.
  • Neck injuries, including incidents involving whiplash.
  • Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Deep lacerations/permanent scarring
  • Spinal cord injuries that may potentially lead to temporary or partial paralysis
  • Crushed limbs that can potentially require amputation
  • Organ damage and internal bleeding
  • Burn injuries

Who is Potentially Liable for Truck Accidents Involving Blind Spots?

The liability within truck accidents involving blind spots is sometimes controversial, and this is primarily because defendants will argue that a passenger vehicle driver was at fault for the accident’s occurrence due to simply being within the truck’s blind spot. It’s true that a passenger vehicle driver will increase their overall odds of being involved in an accident with a truck driver when they remain within the truck’s no-zones, but being in a truck’s no-zone doesn’t necessarily equate to accident liability.

The burden of proof in terms of proving a truck driver’s negligence within these accident cases many times will be determinant upon proving whether or not the truck driver failed to check their mirrors and blind spots prior to making the particular roadway maneuver.

This is of course very difficult to prove without proper legal representation assisting you, which is why DuBoff & Associates is always here for you to utilize our expertise and overall reputation to establish a preponderance of the evidence in your favor.

It’s also important to understand how comparative negligence can create a shared liability within truck accidents involving blind spots. Maryland, Virginia and D.C. courts may find a truck driver defendant to be at fault for the overall occurrence of these types of accidents, but will still hold a plaintiff accident victim partially at fault too.

This is one of the most important reasons why hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer is so crucial to the success of your accident case. Insurance and trucking companies will try to come up with a whole variety of defense strategies, but we’ll be able to argue against these attacks and pursue your best outcome.

But when comparative negligence is applied to a personal injury lawsuit, a court will decipher a plaintiff’s overall percentage of fault. As long as a plaintiff is below 50% at-fault, they’ll be able to recover damages.

Potential Damages Associated with Truck Accident Cases

When you hire our team of attorneys to represent you within a personal injury lawsuit, we’ll be closely looking into the following damages that you may be entitled to:

  • Medical costs: This will include everything from your ambulance ride and overall emergency services, extended hospital stays, surgery, radiology, doctor visits, prescription medications and a lot more…
  • Any future medical costs: A lot of severe truck accident injuries will require extended rehabilitation processes, which can include multiple surgeries or even permanent disability.
  • Costs of rehabilitation: This includes costs of physical/psychological therapy, as well as assistive devices like wheelchairs, crutches, artificial limbs, canes, etc.
  • Lost wages: This includes any work wages an accident victim lost as a result of their overall recovery and hospitalization.
  • Future earning capacity: This refers to an accident victim’s overall capabilities of returning to their job after their injuries, and the estimated amount of future lost wages as a result of their disability.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of quality of life, disfigurement/scarring, as well as many other non-economic damages that could play a factor within the injury victim’s life.

There are also instances in which a truck accident instigates the death of a driver or passenger. When these extremely unfortunate accidents occur, the family members of the deceased accident victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit and potentially recover an array of economic and non-economic damages.

Contact Our Team of Knowledgeable, Caring Truck Accident Lawyers

DuBoff & Associates, CHTD has over 50 years of combined experience when it comes to handling all sorts of personal injury lawsuits within the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. areas.

Contact us online for a free consultation or call us at 301-495-3131 today to get in touch with one of our legal experts so we can review the facts of your accident and begin the initial steps towards you or your loved one’s legal recourse.

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