Big rigs may be impressive for their ability to haul heavy cargo, but they have far more operating limitations than standard passenger vehicles. For example, they take much longer to decelerate because of their weight, and they cannot make sharp turns because of their length and center of gravity.
They also have much larger blind spots than the passenger vehicles in traffic around them. These spots limit visibility for their operators considerably. In fact, traveling in an 18-wheeler’s blind spots is so dangerous that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has deemed such areas “No Zones.”
Because of these “No Zones,” which are on every side of a big rig, motorists must exercise caution when passing trucks in traffic. A similar duty of care extends to commercial drivers, though, who must drive in a predictable manner and use their turn signals well before making any maneuvers.
Unfortunately, just because truckers have an obligation to follow such guidelines does not mean all of them do. Likewise, passenger-vehicle motorists do not always exercise adequate care when passing tractor-trailers. As a result, determining fault in sideswipe collisions, turning accidents, and other blind spot-related wrecks can be challenging.
With help from a strategic truck accident lawyer, though, injured parties can determine fault and then gather the evidence needed to prove it. Here is what you should know about proceeding in such a scenario:
Who Could Be Liable, and How Can I Prove It?
It is common for multiple parties to be responsible for blind spot-related collisions—or at least for the insurance adjuster to argue as much. Commercial drivers have an obligation to compensate for their vehicle’s limitations by exercising caution when performing any kind of maneuver; however, if they fail to do so and end up sideswiping another vehicle, the motor carrier’s insurance provider might argue that the claimant had been traveling in the truck’s “No Zone” and is therefore partially liable.
Fortunately, there are various kinds of evidence that injured parties can use to prove a commercial driver was responsible for a blind spot accident. If dash cam footage is available, for example, it might reveal that the trucker violated a traffic law just prior to the crash. Perhaps he or she failed to use a blinker before changing lanes or did not pull out wide enough when making a right turn.
If there are no surveillance camera or dash cam recordings, eyewitness testimony may corroborate your version of events. If nearby motorists, passengers, or pedestrians saw what happened, their statements could contribute to the strength of your claim.
The truck’s black box will also contain revealing data about the vehicle’s operation in the seconds leading up to the collision. If all else fails, accident reconstruction experts can evaluate photographs of the scene to determine what might have happened.
Although you may not have access to every type of evidence mentioned here, a seasoned attorney should be able to gather all available proof to give your case the best chance of success.
Call 800-770-7008 to Speak with a Truck Accident Attorney in Minneapolis
If you were hurt in a collision with an 18-wheeler and have been accused of traveling in the vehicle’s blind spot, turn to Bradshaw & Bryant. We will investigate the situation and then help you determine the most strategic way to proceed.
For six consecutive years, attorney Michael Bryant has been recognized as a SuperLawyer and named among the state’s Top 40 Personal Injury Lawyers by Minnesota Law & Politics. Call 320-259-5414 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney in Minneapolis.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.