Commercial trucks like tractor-trailers have large blind spots, which makes driving near them a challenge. It is very easy for a smaller passenger sedan to get stuck in one of these blind spots—with tragic results. If a trucker cannot see you, then he cannot take defensive action to avoid hitting you. It’s that simple.
At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, we have represented many truck accident victims. Some of these clients were people trying to pass a large truck on the highway only to have the trucker make a sudden lane change. Others were pedestrians crossing behind a truck in downtown Atlanta, when the trucker threw the truck in reverse.
If you were hurt in a crash, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact our Atlanta trucking accident attorneys to find out more.
Where are the Blind Spots Located on a Truck?
A truck has blind spots on all four sides. Although they differ in size, they are all quite large:
- A 20-foot blind spot at the front of the truck
- A 30-foot blind spot at the rear of the truck
- The lane to the left of the trucker’s door
- The two lanes on the right-hand side of the truck
As you can imagine, these blind spots make passing a big rig on the highway dangerous. The trucker will not see you when you are within 30 feet of its rear, and he won’t see you in the adjoining lane until you are basically right beside his door. At any moment that you are in the blind spot, the trucker could try to change lanes and pull his rig directly into you. Some very scary override accidents happen this way.
Even worse, you might try to take defensive action and pull to the left, only to set off a pinball chain reaction when you crash into another car. Many pileups occur because motorists are trying to avoid a crash when they are in a truck’s blind spot.
Back-Up Truck Accidents
In addition to lane change collisions, pedestrians are at serious risk when they cross behind the truck. This can happen at loading docks, especially in crowded downtown areas. Trucks are outfitted with rearview cameras in most cases, but the driver might not be paying much attention. Any pedestrian trying to scoot behind the vehicle could get run over.
Although a truck in reverse might be going slowly, it is critically important to make sure you are always visible to the driver. This means not crossing behind the truck or even right in front of it. Give yourself sufficient room so that the trucker can see you.
Determining Fault for a Crash
When a truck collides with a pedestrian or motorist, we need to assign fault. Essentially, we need to identify who is responsible for the collision, because that fact will determine who (if anyone) needs to pay compensation.
Truckers are often at fault for blind spot collisions due to:
- Failure to watch surrounding traffic
- Failure to yield
- Failure to check the blind spot
- Neglect at aligning mirrors properly
- Driving without appropriate mirrors
- Ignoring the sound of a horn
In other accidents, the truck owner is to blame. Trucking companies must keep their trucks properly outfitted with the right equipment, including mirrors. They also should sufficiently train and supervise their drivers. When a trucking company refuses to do any of this, they are often at fault for a crash.
With backup accidents, the loading bay company could also share blame if they did not have enough trained attendants to help guide the truck backing up. The absence of signs could also be a problem.
The victim might also be at fault. Under Georgia law, any comparative negligence could have a dramatic effect on your case. It’s possible to lose your ability to sue if you are 50% or more at fault for the collision. Unsurprisingly, many trucking companies try to blame the victim.
Sometimes, however, a victim really is at fault. Anyone who darts behind a moving truck in an alley, for example, is taking a big risk. That type of reckless act would make you partially at fault for getting hit.
This principle also applies out on the road. You aren’t negligent for trying to pass a slow truck. But you might dawdle or refuse to use your horn to alert a trucker that you are in a blind spot. (That’s why cars come with horns—not simply to express displeasure!) If you did not pass carefully, then you could be partially to blame for a lane change accident.
We Advocate for Our Clients
At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, we understand how badly our clients need compensation following a collision with a big rig. We also know trucking companies and their insurance companies want to blame you for the blind spot collision so they can reduce or eliminate the compensation they pay you.
We fight back. The key to our success is our mastery of the facts of your case. You can help your attorney by documenting the crash as best you can. For example, you can write down what happened soon after the accident. Did you toot your horn when a truck driver began to change lanes? Did you speed up so the trucker could see you?
This information is very helpful. Ask witnesses for their name so that your legal team can find out what they saw, as well.
Once hired, we can also request “black box” data from the trucking company. This device logs important information like whether the trucker braked or how fast the truck was going.
With this information, we can effectively minimize your own negligence and maximize the truck driver’s. We will also strive to convince the insurance company that their insured is to blame for the crash and that you deserve fair compensation. If negotiations falter, we can use all this evidence in a trial.
Speak with an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney Today
We are always available to meet with those injured in a truck accident. Please call (404) 529-3476 to schedule a time to talk.