Lubbock highways continuously hum with the sound of trucks carrying cargo through the Panhandle. Accidents occur in seconds, leaving in their wake weeks or even years of recovery and financial strain. Truck drivers face enhanced challenges on the roads because of the size of the rigs they maneuver while often being forced to make quick decisions.
Truck accident injuries that follow require a dedicated focus when considering the factors that lead to these damaging impacts. Work with a Lubbock truck accident lawyer at Liggett Law Group, as experience is vital to unraveling the details of an accident resulting from truck blind spots. The circumstances surrounding truck accidents are complicated, and we will strive to find the answers to tough legal questions.
Understanding Truck Blind Spots
Every motor vehicle has blind spots, but trucks have exaggerated blind spots resulting from their mass and construction. Blind spots are the specific areas at varying points around the vehicle where a driver cannot see what is in that area. When another smaller car or truck passes into these spots, a truck driver may make maneuvering decisions that lead to dire consequences.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refers to these areas as No-Zones or visual areas surrounding a large truck where other vehicles can disappear from the sight of a truck driver. Even following safe driving recommendations, there are instances when other motor vehicles will pass, even briefly, into these blind spots. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that if you are driving near a truck on the highway and cannot see the truck’s side view mirrors, you should recognize that the truck driver cannot see you.
Practice Awareness of These Blind Spots
Understanding where a truck blind spot is typically located may help reduce your chances of personal injury in trucking accidents in Texas. These blind spots can change depending on whether the trailer of a truck is open or closed and the type of cargo being transported on the trailer. Every situation is unique, and each accident requires a thorough investigation of the contributing factors and the role of blind spots.
Injuries in any highway accident can be significant, but the size and weight of a truck and trailer can intensify the damages.
It is vital to note that multiple entities may also be responsible for the compensation you may be entitled to after a truck accident, making it critical to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Texas. Recognizing these significant details, let’s examine the types of truck blind spots that contribute to accidents on Lubbock and Texas highways.
Front of a Truck
The design of a truck puts its driver in a higher seated position that often restricts seeing directly in front of the vehicle. The blind spot in front of a truck can extend almost 20 feet, according to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), making it challenging for the driver to see a vehicle and nearly impossible to stop in a short distance.
Motorists should strive to keep a safe distance from large trucks on Texas highways. However, a truck driver has the most control over the distance between it and the car in front of it. One exception is when someone driving a smaller vehicle changes lanes quickly, cutting into the blind spot of a truck.
The blind spot at the front of a truck also contributes to head-on crashes, resulting in 57% of the head-on crashes with a truck leading to an underride crash. This type of crash is often deadly, with the front end of a vehicle passing entirely under the truck, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Common Injuries From Frontal Blind Spot Accidents
Being rear-ended in a frontal blind spot truck accident is often the result of distracted or aggressive driving. Truck drivers put long hours in behind the wheel, and fatigue, frustration, and time constraints can contribute to the risk of an accident. Injuries from the impact of a truck with a vehicle in front of it include:
- Back sprains and strains
- Spinal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
When a front-of-the-truck blind spot accident occurs, the force of the impact thrusts drivers and passengers forward, often leading to multiple injuries to the body. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), whiplash is a common musculoskeletal injury from motor vehicle crashes. As many as 50% of the individuals suffering from whiplash never achieve a full recovery. Up to 30% of individuals affected by these accidents suffer from ongoing moderate to severe disability.
Rear of a Truck
According to data cited above by the TDI, the blind spot behind a truck can stretch as far as 200 feet past the rear of the truck’s trailer. This area can be dangerous if the truck or trailer lights do not operate properly or a truck driver brakes suddenly, unaware of the traffic behind them. Crashing into the back of a trailer can cause severe accidents and injuries. Poorly maintained braking systems can also contribute to these crashes and the following conditions:
- Severe lacerations to the face, head, and neck
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Crush injuries to the chest area
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Underride crashes accounted for 73% to 79% percent of the accidents involving a passenger vehicle and the rear-end blind spot of a truck, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Because of the severity of the impact, these accidents often result in wrongful death cases, when a family must try to recover financially after the death of a loved one. It can be particularly overwhelming when the expenses resulting from the medical care required after an accident begin to accumulate after the passing of an individual.
Left Side of a Truck
A large truck blind spot exists from a truck’s cab on the left side to approximately the middle of its trailer, making this a hazardous area to travel in. Even the oversized side mirrors and observation cameras on a truck do not allow a driver to take in the scope of all the automobiles surrounding it, particularly in blind spots. Typical events that result in an accident caused by a left-side blind spot truck accident include:
- An air current generated by the truck pulls smaller vehicles under its trailer.
- Truck drivers maneuver over smaller cars traveling in the left-side blind spot when changing lanes.
- A truck changing lanes forces a car off of the roadway or into other lanes of traffic.
- A truck driver sideswipes a vehicle or multiple automobiles.
Even sitting in traffic at a light to the left of a truck turning left poses dangerous potential in the blind spot created at the front left of a truck’s cab. Truck drivers unable to view vehicles in this area can turn too sharply, allowing the cab to make contact with the other vehicle or the trailer to impact or pull over cars beside it. If possible, stop further back where a truck driver can view you from their side view mirror to prevent property damage or personal injury.
Right Side of a Truck
A significant blind spot exists on the right side of a truck. The blind spot on this side of a truck causes it to form a tight squeeze zone when it makes a right turn since the driver is unaware of the vehicles beside it. Right-side truck accidents account for the fewest amount of truck accidents.
Impact of a Truck Blind Spot on Evidence in a Personal Injury Case
Not only must the damage suffered from a truck blind spot accident be adequately assessed for current and future costs, but a personal injury lawyer in Lubbock must identify the party responsible for the crash. As mentioned, this person or entity may not always be the driver. Additionally, it will be up to a skilled legal team to gather evidence and prove that negligence caused the damages you suffered.
Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation. They will take actions such as reviewing safety records, video and photo footage, and black box information. They will consult with reconstructionists and expert witnesses as part of compiling strong evidence in a personal injury case resulting from a truck blind spot accident.
Trucking companies are armed and ready with huge legal defense teams to fight back and protect the company’s reputation. These lawyers try every technique they can to reduce the compensation an accident victim can recover.
Strong negotiation skills are required to fight against the insurance and trucking industries. When negotiation is not an option, extensive trial experience is necessary.
Our Lubbock Personal Injury Lawyers Understand the Tragedy of Truck Accidents
When a truck blind spot accident results in personal loss and injury, you need a compassionate team on your side to fight for justice and the compensation you need. Ted Liggett and Liggett Law Group have been recognized for successfully representing clients who have suffered personal injury in Texas. Our experienced legal team understands the unique challenges facing individuals who are fighting against the massive trucking insurance industry.
Schedule a free consultation before time limits prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve. We fiercely advocate for our clients and provide unwavering support from the initial consultation until your personal injury case is settled or a verdict is achieved at trial.