- No-Zones – Large trucks have “no-zones,” or blind spots, that are located around the front, back, and sides of the truck. When a car is in the No-Zone, the truck driver is usually unable to see it. At these times, a large truck could turn into a passing car and a serious accident could result.
- Squeeze Play – Oftentimes, large truck drivers need to swing wide to the left in order to negotiate a right turn. When truck drivers make wide right turns, they can’t see smaller vehicles directly behind or beside them. When a car cuts between the truck and a curb, the car can be caught in a “squeeze,” and a serious accident can occur.
- Stopping Distance – Large trucks need a greater stopping distance than other vehicles. If there isn’t enough stopping distance between a car and a large truck, the car can be rear-ended. When a passenger car gets rear-ended by a truck weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds, the consequences to the car occupants can be devastating.
Every year over 5,000 car drivers and passengers are killed in accidents involving trucks and over 500 truck drivers receive fatal injuries. The disproportion between the number of truck occupant fatalities and fatalities in other vehicles is due largely to differences in mass and frame stiffness of the vehicles involved in an accident. Trucks can be 40 times heavier than passenger cars, and in a collision a car will sustain most of the change in velocity. More than 300 pedestrians and 50 bicyclists are also killed every year in accidents involving trucks.
Over 50% of all driver fatalities occur in rollover accidents the majority of which involve flatbeds or tankers. Big rigs roll easily and if a curve is taken too fast or if the rear tires strike a curb while cornering the truck will go over. A rig can be rolled at speeds as low as 5 mph, especially on slopes or where a strong tripping influence is present.
More than 10% of driver fatalities occur in fuel oil fires usually as a result of a battery box short out causing electrical sparks which ignite the fuel oil from the ruptured tank leading to a large and potentially fatal fire.
State and Federal law regulates how trucks are maintained and drivers must fill out a vehicle inspection reports. These reports can be crucial evidence that can help experienced counsel reconstruct the accident by establishing the condition of the truck. A lawyer will also conduct an immediate investigation into the history of the driver and the service history of the truck involved.
In order to get compensation a truck accident lawyer will need to show the truck driver failed to use due care in the operation of the truck or vehicle. Typically, in cases where serious injury has resulted, a plaintiff will have claims for pain and suffering, negligent and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress; and loss of consortium.