Large commercial motor vehicles such as trucks can be more difficult to maneuver and require extra stopping and turning space compared to passenger cars. In addition, if involved in an accident, heavy trucks such as semis and 18-wheelers may cause more damage than smaller vehicles.
In fact, more than any other type of vehicle, large trucks are especially difficult to control even when conditions are good. They have large blind spots that can pose a serious hazard to others on the road, and they must often swing wide to turn. The latter, while perhaps necessary, can be risky, and wide turn accidents can leave crash victims with serious injuries.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our wide turn truck accident attorneys have experience specifically with this type of crash, and we are prepared to sit down with you to review your accident free of charge today. Please call us now to get started.
What Is a Wide Turn Accident?
A large truck or another commercial vehicle, such as a bus, cannot make sharp turns like a passenger car is able to. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that large trucks have a turning radius of about 55 feet.
In order to accommodate for the large turning radius that trucks have, truck drivers, before making a turn, will often “swing wide.” For example, if a large truck needs to make a right-hand turn, in order to perform this maneuver, the truck driver may initially move the vehicle to the left to create enough turning space.
When another vehicle (or bicycle or pedestrian) is hit during any point of the turning process, a wide turn accident has occurred.
Common Causes of Wide Turn Truck Accidents
There are a few different ways that the driver of a smaller vehicle may be impacted when a large truck is making a wide turn. Consider again the situation described above: A large truck moves left before making a right-hand turn in order to have more room to maneuver the turn. During this process, a wide right turn accident may occur when:
- The truck driver is initially moving his or her vehicle to the left. If the truck driver does not see a vehicle to the left of it, the truck driver may plow directly into another vehicle or move into a vehicle’s path, causing a crash.
- The truck driver collides with a vehicle when completing its turn. If a vehicle is within the truck’s turn radius, especially if the truck driver cannot see the vehicle (remember, blind spots on large trucks are significant), the truck may hit it.
- Squeeze play accident. This type of accident refers to a collision that happens when a vehicle attempts to pass a large truck on the right-hand side just as the truck is moving to the left and preparing for its right-hand turn. As the truck begins to make the right-hand turn, the smaller vehicle is “squeezed” between the truck and curb.
Most right-hand turn accidents are unintentional; truck drivers have no choice but to make wide turns (although, even lack of intent does not excuse them from liability). In some cases, though, the negligence or recklessness of one of the drivers involved is the cause of the wide turn accident. For example, a wide turn accident may be caused because of the intoxication of a driver, driver distraction, aggressive driving, and other dangerous behaviors.
Injuries from a Wide Turn Accident
Truck accidents caused by wide turns can lead to serious injuries. Whether the smaller vehicle is impacted from the right (the truck moving left into the vehicle’s path) or is squeezed, the sheer weight of a large truck alone typically means catastrophic consequences. Injuries might include:
- Severe lacerations from broken glass and objects
- Traumatic brain injury
- Facial injuries
- Back and spine, including spinal cord, injuries
- Broken bones
- Crushed limbs
- Internal injuries
Truck accidents often leave victims with psychological injuries as well. Injuries, physical and psychological, may permeate a victim’s well-being for the remainder of his or her life.
Who Is at Fault in a Wide Turn Accident?
Determining fault in a wide turn truck accident requires a thorough investigation. Some considerations to think about when determining fault include:
- Why do truck drivers cause crashes when making wide turns? Remember, it is understood that truck drivers need extra space when turning, and therefore simply making a wide turn is not, in itself, enough to hold a driver liable. Other actions of the truck driver, such as distraction or impairment, must be considered.
- Are wide turns illegal? If you can prove negligence per se (the violation of a statute), you can hold the truck driver liable for your harm. But it is not illegal for a truck driver to make a wide turn.
- Who acted in error? The most important consideration when determining fault in a wide turn accident is that of who acted in error. Failing to signal, following too closely, attempting to pass on the right, driving while distracted, and more are all errors that could lead to liability.
What to Do Immediately After a Wide Turn Accident
Immediately after a wide turn truck accident, it is important to ensure the wreck is reported to the proper authorities and that an investigation into causation is opened immediately. Further, there should not be a delay in seeking medical care or notifying one’s insurance company. Failure to do either may serve as a bar to recovery.
Be sure to get the truck driver’s name, contact information, insurance details, and the trucking company’s contact information. Also ask for contact information from any witnesses to the accident. If possible, take photos of the crash scene and your injuries.
How Our Law Firm Can Help After a Wide Turn Truck Accident
If you have been harmed in a wide turn crash, our Chicago truck accident lawyers can review your case free of charge today and provide you with the legal representation you’re looking for. Reach us online or by phone to get started on your personal injury claim.