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Wide Turn Truck Accidents

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Wide Turn Truck Accidents

wide turn truck accidentsVirtually every car driver in California has seen a commercial truck take a wide turn that occupies an additional traffic lane at one point in time. Considering the size and weight of the truck, a driver must make these turns responsibly.

If the truck driver does not have the requisite skills and training to maneuver a wide turn or fails to exercise due care, the vehicle may tip over, crash into another car, or swing into oncoming traffic.

Risk of Wide Turn Truck Accidents in California

California experiences the second-highest number of fatal truck accidents on average every year (after Texas). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures, big rig accidents in California account for about nine percent of all car accidents.

Under California laws, the length of a tractor-trailer cannot be more than 75 feet. However, that is still a substantial amount of space needed for a truck to make a turn. In particular, a right-hand turn could be more dangerous when a sharp 90-degree angle is involved, or if there is a light pole or another object in the way.

A major accident may occur when another vehicle squeezes along the big rig’s right side to pass or attempts to make a right turn while the semi-truck is turning.

Data from WTA Trucking show that in nine out of 10 cases of a right turn squeeze, whether the truck driver is cited for dangerous turning or not, the trucking company is still required to pay for the damages caused to the other vehicle. 

Causes of Wide Turn Commercial Truck Crashes

Driver error is a key cause of wide turn accidents involving commercial or industrial trucks. Typical driver errors may include:

  • Swinging too widely while making a turn
  • Not using the turn signal
  • Not slowing down while making the turn
  • Failure to check for blind spots
  • Choosing to make a wide turn where it is obvious that such turns are unsafe
  • Not waiting for a clear opportunity to make the turn
  • Swinging into moving, oncoming traffic

Other causes that could contribute to wide turn truck accidents in California include:

  • Improper/inadequate training or inexperience
  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving with malfunctioning mirrors, lights, or signals
  • Drowsy driving or driver fatigue
  • Driving under the influence
  • Unfamiliarity with the roads in the area

To minimize the risk of accidents, the truck driver should be conscious of the presence of other vehicles on the road.

They should also be aware of the typical situations that encourage other vehicles to pass on the right (such as, wide shoulders, wide streets, and bike paths). A truck driver should avoid swinging turns as far as possible, navigate a wide turn at a slow speed, and make use of the mirrors and signals.

Irrespective of the cause of the wide turn truck accident, the consequences for victims are often devastating. In the event of a personal injury, it is best for the injured person or their family to consult with a Sacramento truck accident lawyer.

The following video shows a large truck making a tight turn on a crowded residential street.

Liability in a California Wide Turn Truck Accident

Negligence of the truck driver is the most common argument that an injured victim may put forward while pursuing a claim for damages.

The truck driver’s negligence in California could constitute one or more acts, such as failing to check the blind spot, failing to the notice the other vehicle, driver fatigue, or driving an overloaded truck.

The trucking company in California could also have direct or indirect liability for the victim’s personal injuries occurring in a wide turn truck accident. Vicarious liability or respondeat superior are theories of indirect liability, which could apply if the truck driver is making the wide turn during work hours.

Direct liability of the trucking company could be established if the employer has committed negligence in the course of hiring, training, or supervising the driver. 

In some cases, the company responsible for the truck’s periodic maintenance and inspection, or a sub-contractor cargo loading firm could also be held liable for the victim’s personal injury or wrongful death in a wide turn truck accident in California.

In California, the theory of comparative negligence will apply. This means that even if the defendant is able to prove that the victim was partially at fault for their own injuries, the victim could still recover damages in proportion to the defendant’s percentage of fault.

Types of Injuries in Wide Turning Truck Accidents

Considering the massive size and weight of a big rig, a victim could sustain catastrophic injuries in a wide turn truck accident. Even if the truck was turning at a slow speed, the victim could be hit head-on or get crushed between the semi-truck and another vehicle or the curb.

A victim’s injuries in a wide turning truck accident may include:

Seeking Damages for Wide Turn Truck Crash in California

When a victim suffers from personal injuries in a trucking wide turn accident in California due to another’s fault, they have a right to be compensated. The victim or their loved ones should speak to an experienced Sacramento truck accident lawyer immediately.

The first goal of the injury lawyer will be to gather and preserve the evidence in order to build a strong case for compensation. This could include the victim’s medical records, eyewitness accounts, images and forensic evidence from the accident site, the trucker’s logs, the electronic data recorder details, and the records of the trucking company.

A Sacramento truck accident lawyer could help the victims obtain the best possible legal compensation for their medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The video below provides a bird’s eye view of big rigs making wide turns.

Sacramento Truck Accident Attorney 

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer. If you or a member of your family has suffered personal injuries due to another’s fault in a wide turn truck accident, you deserve to be compensated under the law. Call me today for free, friendly legal advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 11.19.20]

Image by Peter H from Pixabay 

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