A truck driver may be held liable for an accident resulting from a wide turn if you can prove the trucker’s negligence caused a crash that injured you and/or damaged your vehicle.
It’s also possible that the trucking company, a truck mechanic, cargo-loading personnel, or a manufacturer bears partial responsibility for your damages, which include medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and physical pain and suffering.
The size of a semi-truck makes it impossible for a trucker to stay close to the curb as smaller vehicles do when turning at a right angle. In order to make such a turn, the trucker must first swing wide, often entering an adjacent lane in which cars may be traveling in the same or the opposite direction.
Wide truck turns can endanger other motorists by increasing the risk of an accident, especially on a two-lane road.
Truck Turn Guidelines
To qualify for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a truck driver must be able to follow the turn guidelines in the CDL training manual, which instructs drivers to:
- Keep the truck as close to the curb as possible for a right turn.
- Swing wide when completing the turn, not when starting it.
- Watch for oncoming vehicles and give them room to slow down, stop, or get out of the way.
- When making a left turn, use the right-hand turn lane.
- Don’t start your left turn until you’re in the intersection.
- Don’t back up.
Not only the negligent truck driver who ignores these guidelines is liable for resulting damages; the trucker’s employer and other personnel may be held accountable, as well.
Wide-Turn Accident Scenarios
A trucker’s failure to follow the guidelines above might lead to one of the following accidents:
- Head on. A trucker turning right on a two-lane road might swing into the adjacent lane and cause a head-on crash with an oncoming vehicle.
- Rollover. A truck driver might swing out and then turn back too sharply, making the turn radius too tight and risking a rollover accident due to the truck’s high center of gravity.
- Squeeze play. The truck might move too far away from the curb when swinging out, leaving room for a car to slip in between the truck and curb. When the truck turns back sharply, it could hit the car, causing an underride accident in which the car is trapped beneath the trailer of the truck.
Other factors that cause wide turn wrecks include the failure to use turn signals, failure to check mirrors, misjudging the speed of nearby vehicles, defective equipment, backing up, insufficient training, distractions, fatigue, and drug or alcohol impairment.
The Role of Your Attorney
Due to the differences in size and weight between a commercial 18-wheeler and a passenger car, an accident involving the two often results in catastrophic injuries for the occupants of the car. Serious injuries mean high medical expenses and a long recovery period preventing you from working, so your insurance claim is likely to be an expensive one, which the insurers of the at-fault parties don’t want to pay. They’re likely to dispute your claim or offer you a quick, unfairly low settlement to save money for the company’s shareholders. In this case, it’s a good idea to have a truck accident lawyer to whom you can refer all communication with the insurer. Your attorney can also help you by:
- Investigating your crash thoroughly along with an accident reconstructionist to prove the trucker’s liability
- Identifying other liable parties
- Interviewing witnesses to the crash
- Obtaining “black box” recorder data or dash-cam footage of the wreck before the trucking company destroys it
- Consulting with your doctors to ascertain your long-term medical needs and expenses
- Putting a dollar amount on your pain and suffering to evaluate your case
- Demanding reasonable compensation from all liable parties
- Negotiating with multiple insurers for a fair award
- Filing lawsuits and taking your case to court if necessary
Most truck accident attorneys will offer you a free first consultation, so you have nothing to lose and much to gain by consulting a lawyer.
Another reason to have an experienced attorney on your team is Virginia’s strict contributory negligence rule, which prevents you from collecting any damages if you’re found even one percent responsible for your own accident. The defendant’s insurer will have a team of attorneys working to prove you’re partially at fault, so you need a seasoned attorney in your corner to help prove the defendant’s total liability.
Have You Been Injured in a Wide-Turn Truck Accident in Virginia?
An experienced truck accident attorney can explain your options and tell you where you stand.
Contact us online or call us at 540-341-0007 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.