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Wide Turn Truck Accidents

Trucks require extra space while turning, but improper turning techniques and negligence during turns can cause accidents that seriously injure other motorists. The Lanier Law Firm specializes in pursuing the maximum compensation for truck accident injury victims.

Accidents involving large commercial trucks are often more serious than car accidents, especially for non-truck occupants. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, accidents involving trucks killed 3,512 passenger vehicle occupants and 622 non-occupants, which include pedestrians and bicyclists. By comparison, 323 truck occupants were killed during the same period.

Truck drivers are required to master turning techniques during truck driver training. Wide turns are sometimes necessary, but truck drivers can prevent many accidents by executing them properly.

Why do trucks make wide turns?

Semis have two parts: a tractor, which is the portion of the truck that is driven, and the trailer, the portion that carries cargo and is pulled by the tractor. The trailer does not follow the exact track of the tractor during turns. According to Schneider, a major trucking company, the average semi is 70 feet long and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. These factors reduce the truck’s turn radius and create rollover risks if turns are taken too tightly.

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Types of Wide Turn Truck Accidents

Wide turns sometimes require truck drivers to borrow a portion of an additional traffic lane. Trucks also have extensive blind spots. The potential for an accident during turns is high if the truck driver does not exercise a reasonable duty of care

Truck Wide Right Turn Accident

The most common wide-turn accident involving a truck and another vehicle is the right turn squeeze accident, which occurs when a truck moves toward the left to make the turn, and the vehicle trailing the truck moves into the right lane and turns at the same time as the truck. This often happens because the driver believes the truck is switching lanes.

When this occurs, the car enters one of the truck’s blind spots, and the truck ends up squeezing the car between the curb and the truck. This can also result in an underride accident. Factors that can prevent a driver from realizing the truck is turning, as observed by the Great West Casualty Company, include the following:

  • Lack of turn signals
  • Dirty, obstructed or missing mirrors on the truck
  • Allowing the trailer to get too far from the curb

According to Trucking Truth, when a truck swings to the left too soon, it would not be unreasonable for a driver to believe the truck is switching lanes, even with a blinker flashing. A trucker should instead keep the trailer close to the curb and wait to swing left until after crossing the intersection and beginning the second half of the turn into the destination lane.

Truck Wide Left Turn Accident

Left turn squeeze accidents are less common because left turns already tend to be wide. However, according to the Washington Post, left turns are more hazardous in general, accounting for 53.1 percent of traffic-crossing accidents, while right turns account for just 5.7 percent.

According to the report, UPS plans truck routes to avoid left turns, so that 90 percent of the turns on their individual routes are right turns. The primary danger in a left turn, according to Trucking Truth, is that left turns force vehicles to cross an intersection into traffic, often at the same times as other turning vehicles. If a truck turns the wheel too soon, the trailer can go off-track and hit another turning vehicle.

Trucks should always use the lane on the right (the outside lane) when making the turn in case it becomes necessary to swing right to complete the turn. Truckers can see cars on the left more easily than on the right.

Can an accident be prevented when a truck makes wide turns?

Drivers of cars and trucks can play important roles in preventing wide-turn accidents. Truckers can do the following:

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), passenger vehicle drivers can prevent accidents by doing the following:

  • Give trucks plenty of space.
  • Wait to proceed until after the truck has completed the turn.
  • Be aware that trucks make wide turns. If a truck appears to be switching lanes near an intersection, assume the truck is turning.

Can an accident be prevented when a truck makes wide turns?

Wide turn accidents can result in devastating injuries from being crushed or pulled under the truck in a squeeze accident, or from being pushed into other traffic when hit by trucks in left turns. Injuries after a truck accident may include the following:

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Spine injuries

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Traumatic brain injury

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Neck and back pain

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Spinal cord injuries

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Soft tissue injuries

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Hip dislocation

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Knee dislocation

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Broken bones/fractures

How much is my wide turn truck accident case worth?

The compensation you may be able to recover after a truck accident could be substantial. Factors that influence compensation include the severity and long-term impact of your injuries, the extent of your losses, who is liable and the venue where your case is tried.

The Lanier Law Firm has offices in Los Angeles, Houston and New York City, and we help truck accident victims throughout California, Texas and New York. In all of these states, you can receive the following types of compensation:

The state of Texas limits punitive damages to the greater of $200,000 or an amount equal to the non-economic damages, up to $750,000.

New York is a no-fault state, which means injured drivers must first file a claim with their Personal Injury Protection Coverage (PIP). PIP provides partial wage replacement, death benefits and coverage of medical expenses but does not cover non-economic damages.

In cases of severe injuries, the New York no-fault law allows accident victims to also file a claim against the negligent party’s liability insurance, which in the case of a commercial truck accident, would be the trucking company’s insurance.

The no-fault law defines serious injuries by statute. They include such injuries as death, dismemberment, disfigurement, loss of a fetus and long-term disability,

Liability in a Wide Turn Truck Accident Case

California Vehicle Code § 17150 and New York § 388 assign liability for trucking accidents to the owner of the truck in cases where the driver was at fault. This is usually a trucking company.

In Texas, truck accident victims must first file an action to establish that the driver was negligent. If the court determines driver negligence caused or contributed to the crash, the victim can then file a separate action to establish the liability of the company by proving that the trucking company was also negligent on such grounds as the following:

  • Negligent hiring practices
  • Failure to adequately train
  • Pressuring drivers to work excessive hours

In some cases, negligent third parties could also be liable. For example, if a defective trucking part caused the accident, such as a mirror that would not stay properly adjusted, the manufacturer or mechanic could be liable. If poorly marked or maintained roads caused the accident, the governing authority could be liable.

What should I do after a wide turn truck accident?

The biggest priority after a truck accident is your health and well-being. Always seek medical attention after an accident, even if you do not believe you are hurt, as some injuries are not immediately apparent. Additional steps include the following:
  • Document the accident using photos and videos.
  • Obtain the names and contact information of witnesses.
  • Obtain the name of the trucking company and any insurance information the trucker has on hand.
  • Report the accident and obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer.

When should I contact a wide turn truck accident attorney?

Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. This will prevent you from having to deal with the trucking company and its insurance company while you are trying to recover. It will also provide your lawyer with access to evidence and witnesses while the accident is still recent.

The statute of limitations is three years in New York and two years in cases of wrongful death. The statutes of limitations for both wrongful death and personal injury are two years in California and Texas.

However, this does not mean you should wait to contact an attorney. A skilled personal injury attorney invests substantial time and resources to build a strong case on your behalf, and this will require early involvement for the best results.

Mark Lanier

How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?

The Lanier Law Firm is dedicated to providing clients with a level playing field against large companies like insurance and trucking companies. We do this by providing our services with no upfront fees so our clients have access to high-caliber legal representation that can match and exceed the skills of the representation large companies can easily afford.

Our law firm receives a percentage of your compensation as a fee after we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. This percentage varies based on the amount of work required to win your case, but it will be fully disclosed to you up front.

How can a wide turn truck accident lawyer help me with my case?

The wide turn truck accident lawyers at The Lanier Law Firm have access to important resources that will be necessary to build and present your case. Our resources include the following:

  • Forensic analysts
  • Accident reconstructionists
  • Medical experts
  • Life care planners

Most individuals do not have the ability to tap into these types of resources. Access to these experts requires extensive financial investment and a network of professionals that is built over the course of years and decades.

Established in 1990, The Lanier Law Firm has an extensive legal team of 60 lawyers who have been building professional networks over the the past 30 years and even longer in some cases. When you hire The Lanier Law Firm, you tap into this network of skilled professionals who work hard for your benefit.

Why is The Lanier Law Firm the best choice?

When you have a lawyer from The Lanier Law Firm on your side, you can trust that your case is in the hands of some of the most skilled and accomplished lawyers in the country. Several attorneys from our firm have been honored as Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters over the years, including nine in 2021.

The founder of The Lanier Law Firm, Mark Lanier, has been named Trial Lawyer of the Year by The National Trial Lawyers and was named one of America’s 50 Most Influential Lawyers.

Our attorneys offer a compassionate, personalized approach and provide vigorous advocacy, refusing to settle for any amount less than the full amount you need and deserve. With the statute of limitations already tolling, time is not on your side. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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