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Auto Accident 12.08.1969

Injured Because Truck Driver Didn’t Check Blind Spot?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one third of motor vehicle accidents between heavy trucks and passenger vehicles occur due to a truck’s blind spot. Drivers of large trucks or buses (commercial motor vehicles) know they have operating limitations such as large blind spots, long stopping distances, and limited maneuverability.

The FMSCA created a public awareness initiative to alert all drivers about the dangers of blind spots, which is commonly referred to as No-Zones. Passenger vehicles need to stay out of the no-zones. Most drivers are aware that all vehicles can have blind spots, but those on trucks have huge blinds spots. Truck drivers cannot glance over their shoulders to clear a blind spot like other smaller passenger motor vehicle drivers.

All too often, truck drivers and trucking companies often want to blame other motorists for accidents that occur in a truck’s blind spot, which make it essential for other vehicles to put extra focus on safety. However, truckers can cause an accident by not clearing paying attention to their blind spots before they change lanes or turn.

The large mass and weight of a truck make it far more likely for severe injuries and fatalities when accidents occur, making truck accidents among the most dangerous of all traffic collisions.

Being aware about blind spots will help keep you safe when you are share the road with large commercial trucks by avoiding blind spot truck accidents or being a victim to truckers who fail to check their known blind spots.  

Knowing a Truck’s Blind Spots

We often share the road with commercial trucks and knowing where a trucks blind spots are located can save your life. The size and location of the blind spots can be located in different areas, depending on the size of the truck or tractor trailer combination. Semi-truck and trailer combinations are known as  18-wheel truck, which would usually have the largest blind spots. Blind spots for big rigs can be located in the following places:

  • The driver side blind spot is below the driver window and go back to the end of the trailer.
  • The passenger side blind spot is below the passenger window and go back to the end of the trailer.
  • The front end blind spot can extend up to 20 feet ahead of the cab.
  • The rear blind spot can extend up to 30 feet behind the trailer.

Blind spots refers to a condition where drivers cannot see other vehicles or motorcycles in these locations. With larger blind spots, truck drivers especially have difficulty seeing other vehicles so checking twice is important for the truck driver. Safe and experienced truck drivers take the time to clear their blind spots by accelerating or decelerating and constantly checking sideview mirrors. Failure to check a blind spot can cause accidents when truckers turn or change lanes.

Are Truck Blind Spots Large?

The truck’s blind spot can be as large as the tractor-trailer combination. Every motor vehicle has a blind spot, but the design of semi-trucks and other large trucks make their blind spots large than smaller passenger vehicles. The composition of the trucks that lead to huge blind spots include:

  • Tractor-Trailer length. The tractor and trailer combination are typically between 70 and 80 feet long. This creates a large area with poor visibility that goes the full length of the trailer on both sides. Ifthe  tractor-trailer combo has double or triple trailers, the blind spots is even bigger. Double trailers can be more than 100 feet and create ever larger blind spots for truck drivers.
  • Tractor height. Big rigs sit much higher than passenger vehicles, pickup trucks and Sport utility vehicles. Due to the elevated height, trucker drivers can have a difficulty seeing vehicles next to them or in front of them, especially passenger vehicles that are low to the ground.
  • No rear-view mirrors. Semi-trucks and heavy vehicles with large trailers, do not have rear-view mirrors to see vehicles behind them. In passenger cars, rear-view mirrors are available for drivers to see behind them, or they can glance over their shoulders to see in their blind spots. However, big rigs without rearview mirrors or the ability to glance out of the rear window, the blind spots are huge.

What Are Some Blind Spot Safety Tips? 

 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends the following safety precautions:

  • A commercial motor vehicle has large blind spots around all four sides.
  • Take extra care in passing and being passed by large trucks and buses.
  • Stay out of blind spots when a truck or bus is turning, backing up or changing lanes.
  • Large vehicles need longer following distance to see vehicles behind them. If you can’t see the driver in his or her side mirror, the driver can’t see you.

How Blind Spot Truck Accidents Happen?

Blind Spot Truck accidents are usually preventable. However, blind spot accidents do frequently occur, because the trucker failed see the vehicle causing a crash. Blind spot truck accidents can be fatal and include the following situations:

  • A truck driver tailgates another vehicle and cannot stop because trucks need more distance and time to stop due to vehicles weight.
  • Tailgating a truck or bus presents added dangers. A passenger vehicle tailgates a commercial truck so the driver doesn’t have the space or time to stop when the truck driver turns, changes lanes, slows down, or stops.
  • A motorist lingers in the “no-zones” when driving near large trucks. This is especially common on highways and roadways with two or more lanes. Truck drivers need to pay special attention to motorists passing their blind spots.
  • A commercial trucker driver engaged in road rage or slams on the brakes.
  • Buses and trucks require extra turning room. A truck driver doesn’t check his blind spots are clear when making a wide turn or when changing lanes on a road or highway.
  • Don’t linger in the blind spot. Make sure you can see the driver in the mirror before passing. 

If you have been injured in a blind spot accident, contact our expert blind spot accident injury lawyers.

What Are Some Blind Spot Truck Accident Injuries

A tractor-trailer fully loaded with cargo can weigh up to 80,000 pounds compared to passenger vehicles and SUVs which weigh between 3,200 and 6,000 pounds. When truck accidents occur, this size and mass makes them more likely to result in severe injuries and deadly injuries. Blind spot crash accidents are even worse because they are more likely to lead to sideswipes, rollover accidents, and dangerous underride collisions. Those who are fortunate enough to live through a blind spot truck accident might experience one or more of the following injuries:

  • Multiple crushed and broken bones
  • Lacerations that might leave permanent scars
  • Severe neck injuries that can include whiplash and fractured vertebrae
  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in permanent or temporary paralysis in part or all of the body
  • Back injuries resulting in lifetime chronic pain, even after surgery
  • Head traumas that can lead to severe traumatic brain injuries, brain bleeds, and more
  • Internal hemorrhaging and organ damage
  • Crushed limbs that might need to be amputated
  • Devastating burns from a car fire or explosion

Determining Liability in a Blind Spot Truck Accident

As a Michigan resident you know Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws generally require that you to carry (PIP) coverage if you are an owner or registrant of a motor vehicle. This means your first claim would be with your no fault insurance company. Injured parties file a claim with their own PIP carrier regardless of who caused the accident; however, Michigan’s PIP insurance covers medical expenses, and only 85% percent of an injured person’s lost wages up to the statutory cap. Severe truck accidents almost always rapidly meet or exceed minimum PIP limits, bringing excess economic losses into the picture. Additionally, PIP policies do not pay c non-economic losses an injured party might have sustained and change in lifestyle in the aftermath of a truck accident.

Once determining a truck driver was at fault, investigators and insurance adjusters will go the extra mile to assess the damages. However, truckers, trucking companies, and their insurance companies will commonly contest liability by arguing a blind spot truck accident was caused by the driver of the passenger vehicle. Truckers have the ultimate responsibility to check their blind spots and make sure it is safe to make any turns or lane changes. Depending on the circumstances, a Michigan jury might hold a truck driver fully liable for a blind spot collision with a passenger vehicle.

Get Compensation After a Blind Spot Truck Accident

If you or a loved one sustained injury due to a blind spot truck accident, Michigan law permits to you sue for damages in civil court. If your attorneys negotiate a settlement or the jury rules in your favor during litigation, you could receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses beyond PIP coverage including hospitalization, surgery, emergency response, aftercare, diagnostic imaging, and medication
  • Future medical expenses when a severe injury requires extensive rehabilitation, life-care or causes a permanent condition or disability
  • Rehabilitation expenses including visits to multiple specialists who help injury victims regain function and learn ways to cope with any permanent disability
  • Vocational retraining
  • Lost wages as a result of missing work due to the accident, hospitalization, and recovery
  • Future lost wages for those who cannot return to their job because of their injury or must reduce hours or change positions
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Permanent or serious scarring
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life, society, or companionship
  • Loss of consortium with a spouse
  • Other applicable non-economic losses and damages

If you have lost a loved one in a blind spot truck collision, you might be eligible for compensation depending on your relationship with the deceased. Family members who file a wrongful death suit might receive some of the previously listed damages in addition to funeral costs, burial expenses, and non-economic costs specific to family relationships. A qualified Michigan commercial truck accident attorney can provide more information about what strategy is best for you and other surviving family.

Comparative Negligence in Michigan Blind Spot Truck Accidents

Who is at fault can be simple in some cases, but it’s more complex when blind spot accidents occur. Often, multiple drivers might share responsibility, or the trucker might share responsibility with the employer for failure to have proper equipment.

Usually, insurance companies fight paying trucking accident claims, so you can rest assured they will do their best to avoid responsibility. The defense might use common strategic arguments to convince the jury or court you are partially or fully responsible for the truck accident.

Regardless of the strategies the defense tries to use to devalue your claim, a skilled truck accident attorney understands comparative negligence in Michigan and knows how to fight them to help you pursue the best outcome for your case.

Get Legal Help After a Michigan Truck Accident

An experienced Michigan truck accident attorney understands the devastation you might face in the aftermath of a blind spot truck accident. Not only do you have to suffer the physical pain of injury and healing, but you also have to face the financial burdens that accompany a severe or disabling injury. You continue to face growing medical bills, which can destroy your family if you contributed to household finances before the accident.

You can focus on recovering to the fullest extent possible by letting our personal injury lawyers investigate and find relevant facts to help prove your case. Our investigation might include checking driver cell phone records, truck driver logbooks, eyewitness interviews, and gathering relevant documents like traffic crash report and medical records. A trained truck accident lawyer can also handle communications with any insurance company so they take your claim seriously. All these legal steps help maximize your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for injuries you suffered as a result of a blind spot truck accident.

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The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C represents Michigan clients in a full range of personal injury matters. If you have been injured, contact us for a free consultation.
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